It seems Naby Keïta’s future at Liverpool is not as solid as previously thought.
According to ESPN, the Guinean midfielder could be sold by the club for the remainder of the week of the transfer window if the right offer is received.
This despite the fact that Keïta started both Premier League games for Liverpool and performed well, especially in the 2-0 win over Burnley at Anfield.
With the start of the 26-year-old in both games, Jürgen Klopp apparently sent a signal that he is betting on Keïta this season and is betting on him for the long season.
Why the apparent U-turn?
Keïta is a modern midfielder. He is dynamic, powerful, has good technique and spatial awareness. There’s a reason Liverpool paid over £ 50million three years ago to bring him to the club from RB Leipzig.
However, his problem has always been injury, not his talent.
Keïta missed 53 games during his time at the club due to various injuries and therefore found neither rhythm nor consistency in his game. the way he even won a move to the club.
The Guinean is now in his fourth season at Liverpool and has never played more than 25 league games in one season in the last three years. Additionally, injuries really got to him last season and he only played 10 games, which is around 521 minutes of football. He only made seven starts.
With Liverpool struggling to sack some of their fringe players this summer – Divock Origi and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain are still at the club – financially, it makes sense that the club need to throw the net wider. The FSG has to see who is ultimately dispensable from the current first team squad, whereby the question is always how much an exit would affect the chances of winning the title this season. Since he was little involved until recently, Keïta can hardly be considered inviolable.
Perhaps Klopp and the board of directors realize that despite his obvious talent, Keïta cannot be answered in the busy English season. At the same time, however, they will only sanction a departure if the right offer arrives.
Keïta has two more years of contract left and the club will know this will be the last summer to get back a large part of their original expenses. Should they wait a year, the amount they are likely to be able to recoup will be greatly reduced – even if the transfer market recovers from Covid.
Still, the midfielder got off to a good start into the season. Against Burnley, Keïta offered a calm efficiency: interrupting possible counterattacks, bringing calm to the ball, weighing the right options and making clever passes.
Klopp has said that players like Keïta and Oxlade-Chamberlain are taking all the opportunities they have in the first team: while the latter flattered against Norwich on matchday one to deceive, the former did everything possible to seize his chance.
At the same time, given Keïta’s injury record, it is unlikely that any team will come up with a suitable offer, which means he is likely to stay at Anfield this summer.
And if – and it’s a big if – he can stay healthy all season, Keïta can play a huge role for Liverpool this season.