Steve Nicol and Didi Hamann have differing views on Liverpool’s pursuit of Naby Keita.
The former doesn’t think he’s worth the money, while the German thinks if £70m is the going rate – then that’s simply what we need to pay.
The Guinean has agreed personal terms with Liverpool, but we’ve yet to settle on a price with Red Bull Leipzig, who have publicly claimed they will not sell the 22-year-old.
Keita has returned to Leipzig early though to convince his club to sit down at the negotiating table with Liverpool’s representatives.
At the end of this week, we’ll hopefully know if a record transfer is on…
What Nicol told the Express…
“He’s a box-to-box guy,”
“I’ve only seen him a couple of times, I haven’t seen him that much of him.
“But as I said, he’s got an engine, he gets up and down, he’s pretty clean with his passes.
“I’m not so sure he scores that many goals to be honest.
“For £70m you want a guy who can go from one end of the field to the other? I’m wanting a bit more than that for £70m.”
What Hamann told the Echo…
“Would £70million put me off buying Keita? No,” Hamann told the ECHO.
“Just getting through the play-off round and into the group stage of the Champions League would pay off a big chunk of that fee.
“With Keita on board, Liverpool would have an even better chance of getting through.
“You can question the fees being mentioned for the likes of (Virgil) van Dijk and Keita, but if you want the top players you have to pay the going rate.
“It’s no good saying the market value is £30million because you aren’t going to get someone like that for that fee.
“If Liverpool had to pay £60million or £70million to get Keita it wouldn’t worry me. You are buying a top player for years to come.
“If you buy a player for £15million and you get offered £70million for him a year later, it’s going to be very hard to turn down.
“It’s a huge fee. As much as Leipzig are in the Champions League and want to be successful themselves, I can’t see them turning down £70million if the player is pushing for the move. Apart from Bayern Munich, any club would think about it.
“Liverpool’s interest has been well known for a while so it wouldn’t surprise me if they have already got a replacement for Keita in the pipeline.
“Leipzig have the best academy in the league so it might be the case that it frees up a space for an outstanding youngster coming through.
“Sometimes the fee is so good you have to let a player go. I think that will be the case with Keita.”
At Empire of the Kop, we unequivocally agree with Hamann. Without being too disrespectful to Nicol, who was a brilliant player for us in the 1980s, it’s quite clear he doesn’t know much about Keita – and has not analysed what he could offer our midfield.
Jurgen Klopp has though – and is desperate to sign him at any cost. For us, this is more than enough.
We just hope RB Leipzig agree to do business…