German football expert Raphael Honigstein has raised question marks over whether Liverpool will be willing to meet RB Leizpig’s eye-watering asking-price for Naby Keita.
The 2016/2017 Bundesliga runners-up remain adamant they will not budge from the £70million price-tag they have slapped on Keita amid growing interest from the Reds.
Recent reports have served as the clearest indication yet that spending power won’t be an issue for Liverpool with Jurgen Klopp prepared to go all out to sign one of his priority targets.
Honigstein, however, isn’t buying into the club’s apparent willingness to pay up for the 22-year-old.
“I think that huge figure that Leipzig unofficially quoted Liverpool as sort of their threshold reflects the fact that this player is almost two players in one,” Honigstein said on ESPN FC.
“He has the legs and the energy to join up with attacks and to drive through those big spaces that they create through their transition game and because the impact of Kante in the Premier League has been such, that I think the fashion as swung towards that type of player.”
“There is a huge demand and that reflects the huge figure for him.”
“I think for Liverpool the attraction is very clear, I’m still not quite sure they are prepared to pay as much as €80million for him.”
Support from the Times’ Paul Joyce serves as good reason to believe Liverpool are in fact ready to pay as much as £70million for a player Klopp feels can take his side closer to a serious title challenge.
Though comparisons to N’Golo Kante have been circulating, Keita is so much more than a conventional No.6 and by no means the one-dimensional defensive midfielder many have mistaken him for.
He represents the kind of all-action asset capable of contributing at both ends of the pitch and becoming integral to implementing the quick transition from defence to attack that has become crucial to the way Liverpool play.
Targeting Keita hasn’t been a stab in the dark on Klopp’s part. He has been identified as a figure ready-made for the German’s system, not to mention life in England’s top flight.