Robbie Fowler believes Liverpool’s failed pursuit of Naby Keita can be a valuable lesson when it comes to keeping hold of their key players.
The legendary Reds striker has outlined how RB Leipzig’s stern insistence that the Guinean would not be sold for any price this summer will have been useful in Liverpool’s efforts to keep Philippe Coutinho at the club.
Barcelona have seen two bids of £72million and £90million rejected for the Brazilian playmaker, who has recently handed in a transfer request as his first attempt to force a move to the Nou Camp.
Liverpool have shown no signs of abandoning their adamance that Coutinho will not be allowed to leave and Fowler believes the club will have taken inspiration from Leipzig’s approach with Keita.
“Their decision shows me clubs still hold some of the cards, even though all the noise surrounding the game these days screams that players are in complete control,” Fowler wrote in his column for the Mirror.
“It’s funny, because Liverpool probably realised they were in a stronger position with Coutinho than they first thought because of their own experience in trying to sign Naby Keita.”
“They wanted him, they pursued him, put in several bids – and were turned down flat. The player wanted to go, but quite correctly RB Leipzig had the right to say no. The club had the power after all.”
“Keita has already indicated he’ll get his head down and play because he has a contract, and he’ll wait for next summer.”
It’s about time Liverpool took a no-nonsense approach to keeping hold of one of their best players. Fans won’t be as accepting of Coutinho leaving as they have been for players departing in the past, purely for the fact many feel the 25-year-old still owes the Reds a big season and one in which he is capable of moving to a world class level.
He doesn’t come across as the kind to sulk and, if he is so keen on moving to Barcelona as some point in his career, can’t afford to if he is made to stay.
It’s now up to FSG to stick to their word.