4 Oct 2014

Mario Beware? BR wants to sign 'extraordinary' €20m striker who smashed 47 goals in one season

Last month, the Agent of Lazio starlet Keita Balde Diao - a former Barcelona youth player - confirmed that Brendan Rodgers actively tried to sign the striker over the summer, and new reports suggest that Liverpool and Arsenal are planning new bids for the attacker during the January transfer window.

According to reports in Italy and the UK today:

* Balde wants to leave Lazio to pad his bank balance 'develop his career'.

* Lazio have allegedly lowered their asking price from €30m to €20m.

* Arsenal and Liverpool both want to sign Balde.

In September, Balde's agent, Anglo Cascella, told reporters:

"Liverpool and Juventus made a €20m million offer for Keita last summer, but Lazio always rejected their offers".

Liverpool have been linked with Balde several times over the last year:

SEP 2013: The Daily Mail reported that Liverpool's scouts watched the 18-year old in his debut in Lazio's 1-0 win over Legia Warsaw in the Europa League.

FEB 2014: Italian newspaper Tutto Mercato reported that the Reds were still monitoring the player.

MAR 2014: The Mirror claimed that Liverpool scouts continued to check on Balde, and his Agent insisted that the transfer fee 'cannot be less than €15m"

Some facts about Keita:

* Kicked out of Barca at 15 for playing a prank on a tour of Qatar.
* 2010-11: Scored 47 goals in one season for UE CornellĂ 's youth team.
* Rejected the chance to return to Barcelona.
* Currently contracted to Lazio until June 2017.
* Last season: 8 goals/9 assists in 27 apps for Lazio.
* 5 goals/assists in 8 Europa League games.

Lazio midfielder Gianmarco Falasca is a fan of Keita, and believes he's destined for great things. In December, he told LazioNews:

"Keita is an extraordinary talent. When he works, you can see he is quiet and he is really strong"

Lazio coach Edy Reja is also quietly confident that Keita can develop into a top class player. In a recent interview with Rai Sport, he enthused:

"I knew about Keita’s talent two years ago, he is a player who has continued to grow. If he can maintain the right level of humility and work hard, even defensively, he can do very well.”

It's unclear whether LFC made the offer before or after signing Divock Origi, but in my view, it doesn't make sense to spend €20m on Balde with similarly-aged Belgian striker already in the squad.

Plus, both are similar players, in that they're big, strong, powerful attackers, though Balde can also play on the left-wing.

If Rodgers made an offer, then he's clearly interested, so it's not beyond the realm of possibility that Liverpool may go back in for Balde in the future.



  1. What kind of prank would get one kicked out of Barca? Did he kill someone's dog? Seems a bit harsh unless, of course, he pulled the old sugar-me-do. If that was the case I fear for his soul.
    Anyone know?

  2. colonel cocknocker11:50 pm, October 04, 2014

    This would be epic. I kept saying jackson martinez as he would have made a more immediate impact to replace suarez, but if you're talking about the end of the season keita would be my number one pick. Really like what I've seen of him. I would take him over benzema every day of the week.....

  3. Young players are always a gamble, and Jaimie I appreciate your point about Origi. However my instinctive response to seeing this article was, 'YES!', because I firmly believe that Keita is the real deal. He has got mad, mad skills and is powerful and quick as well. Sterling-level potential. Some people say Ronaldo-level talent, but at that age, not even CR had Ronaldo-level talent. That was just hard, hard work and some luck, I'm sure.

    But I would be over the moon if we got Keita. It would be at the expense of a Pedro-type addition, but that's okay (big thing for me to say because I don't know a bigger Pedro fan than me). He is phenomenally talented.

    And, yes, I have seen him play in actual matches besides YouTube (pre-emptive defence).

  4. colonel cocknocker12:07 am, October 05, 2014

    bob he put ice cubes in his team mate's bed apparently, if i may post a link?


    If you can't be bothered to read that it says it was one prank too many and they were expecting him to be loaned out as punishment but his contract ran down and he jogged them on.
    What is the old sugar me do?

  5. If you're not being sarcastic, then I agree with you wholeheartedly.

  6. Offer Fabio Borini to Lazio in a swap!

  7. colonel cocknocker12:22 am, October 05, 2014

    no i wasn't being sarcastic. I don't really like benzema if im honest. I know people will think I'm mad but i don't like a lot of so called world class strikers.....benzema, higuain, cavani, I don't think any of them would fit us perfectly. I think balde diao might......with origi and sturridge and lambert and mario as rotaters as well we would be quality even in the league cup!

  8. Chuckled for your league cup comment. I don't really like Benzema either - would choose Balde Diao over him instantly! You're right about the fit, too. BD is more willing to hug the wing, whereas the other three 'world class' strikers would want to push Sturridge wide, which neither he nor I will appreciate. We'd have super depth with Origi and potentially this guy.

  9. Unfortunately, I can't be bothered to read beyond one word of any post/article/song lyric/book title, etc...
    I guess I'll never know.

  10. I cannot see FSG bankrolling a move for yet another striker when we've just paid 16 milliion for Carolltelli

  11. Seriously we don't want players as rude as him, we prefer the biters