Liverpool has been successful in acquiring one of their biggest transfer targets, RB Leipzig’s midfielder Naby Keita for a fee of around £48million.
However, in many ways, it’s a victory for RB Leipzig. The club gets to hold on to Keita for one more year, with the player set to join Liverpool in the Summer of 2018. The German side is taking on their very first participation in European competitions and they will get to approach the new challenge with much of the same players that provided a successful maiden Bundesliga campaign.
Secondly, and certainly very important, RB Leipzig makes their first high-profile sale. It is rumored that the Premier League side will part with £48million, representing Keita’s release clause. The German club will be disappointed to have finally lost in the end the services of a top player in favor of a larger European club. On the other hand, Keita could represent the first sale out of a number of talented young players, most of them developed through the youth system of the club. RB Leipzig may not be “the people’s club”, earning the distinction of becoming perhaps the most hated club in Bundesliga as a result of their corporate ties, but football fans will likely need to get used to them. RB Leipzig is playing the long game.
It’s also a massive victory for Jurgen Klopp and his reinvigorated Liverpool side. Foremost it’s a victory in terms of image. The gloomy prediction that Liverpool would not be able to bring in quality transfers and lose their top targets to rival clubs do not seem to have come true. The distressing rumor that the club was on the verge of losing some of their best players in favor of higher reputation clubs has not yet come true either. The Reds have started the season in good fashion earning an impressive 4-0 victory over Arsenal. It’s certainly a long way to go, but all of these are a declaration of intent for the club. Liverpool is looking to once again become a title challenger in England and a good performer in European competitions.
As for Keita, the transfer could certainly mean a move up in the football world. He joins a team organized by a manager who earned his stripes in the German championship and who should be able to make good use of the central midfielder’s qualities. While it looks like his initial promises of staying committed to Leipzig may have thrown to the wayside, the transfer confirmation, at least, eliminates the uncertainty hovering around the player’s future.
Keita echoed a similar sentiment in a statement issued shortly after the transfer news. The player says he is excited to be joining Liverpool, but that he is determined to provide the same level of performances for RB Leipzig that he offered last season. Fans of the club will hold him e the promise.
“I will become part of a project that excites me greatly. My commitment to RBL remains absolute for the remainder of my time at the club. Having my future resolved means I can now focus on helping RBL achieve great things this season. Until I join my new club, next summer, I will remain an interested supporter from a distance,” Keita says.