10 Aug 2015

Next to Sign? Liverpool chase 'extraordinary' €15m attacker who's desperate for Anfield move

Last season, the Agent of Lazio starlet Keita Balde Diao - a former Barcelona youth player - confirmed that Brendan Rodgers actively tried to sign the striker during the summer 2014 transfer window, and new reports suggest that Liverpool are planning another move for the coveted 19-year old attacker.

According to Italian newspaper Corriere dello Sport on Sunday:

* Diao has reportedly demanded a transfer away from Lazio 'amid interest from Liverpool and Arsenal'

* Lazio are allegedly willing to sell for €15m.

This follows comments from Diao's agent in July, when he urged Liverpool to make an offer:

“Liverpool have a manager who relishes attacking players like Keita. It is a destination we would like, but we have to verify a series of situations. So far I have not had any direct contact with Liverpool.

Liverpool's interest in Balde is well established:

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".

SEP 2014: Balde's agent, Anglo Cascella, told reporters: "Liverpool and Juventus made a €20m million offer, but Lazio always rejected their offers".

OCT 2014: Reports in Italy claimed that Arsenal and Liverpool were still tracking Balde.

FEB 2015: UK reports claimed that LFC scout Barry Hunter had urged Rodgers to sign Diao.

Some info about Diao:

* 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: 4 goals/4 assists in 29 apps for Lazio.

* Lazio Total: 10 goals/13 assists in 64 apps (goal/assist every 2.7 games)

* 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"

Former 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.”

€15m, though? It's not an outrageous transfer fee, but Liverpool could probably sign Andriy Yarmolenko for just a little more than that.

In any event, Balde is probably just another in a long-line of cash-obsessed football mercenaries. In October, he crashed his Lamborghini Gallardo; a 19-year old with a Lamborghini? That says it all, really.

Author: Jaimie K


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