2 Mar 2017

Next Pirlo? Liverpool keen to sign 'outstanding' €20m powerhouse; Mane could help with transfer (indirectly)

As this season has underlined yet again, Liverpool are severely lacking tough, combative midfielders, so it's heartening to learn that Jurgen Klopp has his sights set on one of the Bundesliga's most robust midfielders.

According to multiple reports today:

* Klopp is planning a summer move for €20m-rated Leipzig star Naby Keita.

* Dortmund, Arsenal and Bayern are also in the race to sign Keita.

Liverpool were linked with Keita last summer, and in October 2016, he confirmed:

"Arsenal, and Man City...were interested in signing me and Liverpool as well. I did not want to join a big Champions League club right away. I want to prove myself in the Bundesliga".

Some info about Keita, who has the same agent as Sadio Mane.

* 22-year old box-to-box midfielder, described as 'equal parts Kane, Pirlo and Gerrard'.

* Bundesliga (Salzburg/Leipzig): 24 goals/18 assists (42) in 102 apps (One every 178 mins)

* Scouting Report (Strengths): "One of two deep midfielders for Leipzig. Constantly plugs gaps when team-mates vacate their position. Impeccable anticipation. Phenomenal range of passing. Incredibly accurate forward passes. Expert dribbling. Adept at playing through the most rigorous of presses".

* Jul 2016: Sporting director Rangnick enthused: “He [Keita] fits our team perfectly with his dynamism, outstanding technical and tactical skills, and his character.”

* Feb 2017: Currently in negotiations with Leipzig over a record-breaking salary deal.

Give Keita's comments about wanting to 'prove' himself in the Bundesliga, it seems unlikely that he'll quit a progressive, exciting team like Leipzig after just one season, especially with the team on course for Champions League qualification. The way things are going, Liverpool may not even qualify this season, and if that happens, there's probably no chance of signing Keita anyway.

Clearly, finishing in the top four is absolutely vital or Liverpool this season.

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