Liverpool FC will attempt to bring forward the signing of Naby Keita from RB Leipzig to this month despite the Bundesliga club asking the Reds to increase their offer by €20m in order to do so.
Reds manager Jurgen Klopp would be keen to add the Guinea international to his squad for the second half of the season following the £142m sale of Philippe Coutinho to FC Barcelona, and is hopeful Leipzig could be persuaded to allow the 22-year-old to leave five months earlier than planned.
An agreement has been reached between Liverpool and Leipzig for the purchase Keita with his £48m release clause this summer. This was settled last August, with Liverpool also expected to pay a premium of around £6m to complete the central midfielder’s move to Anfield.
RB Leipzig are currently fifth in the Bundesliga table before the resumption of the league programme this weekend, but would prefer to keep Keïta until the end of the season as they attempt to qualify for the UEFA Champions League once more.
They will also be facing off against Napoli in the last 32 of the Europa League next month, although reports in Germany have suggested the player signed from Leipzig’s sister club Red Bull Salzburg in 2016 has been pushing for an early move to Anfield.
Keita will meet Leipzig officials before the weekend to discuss his situation, although the coach, Ralph Hasenhuttl, insisted on Thursday he does not expect his star player to leave the club this month.
“Nothing has changed,” he said. “We don’t have reason to sell before the summer. I think Naby wants to finish the season in a good way in Leipzig. There’s no reason to let Keita go now, and that’s the end of it.”
With Liverpool also desiring to maintain good relations with Leipzig and if sporting director Ralf Rangnick sticks to his stance that Keita will stay put until the summer then the current agreement will be respected.