- RB Leipzig CEO reveals Barcelona were interested in Naby Keita
- La Liga club supposedly didn’t push as hard for the signing as Liverpool
- Guinean will officially join Reds in July 2018
- SEE MORE: Club chief gives intriguing update on LFC target’s future
RB Leipzig chief executive Oliver Mintzlaff admits it was Liverpool’s sheer determination that helped them land the signing of Naby Keita.
The Reds pursued the Guinean throughout the summer transfer window but saw his Bundesliga employers match their own firm stance over Philippe Coutinho.
Leipzig refused to sell Keita ahead of their highly-anticipated Champions League campaign, rejecting three lucrative bids from Liverpool.
Though the club failed to secure the 22-year-old at the time, an agreement was reached when Liverpool paid Keita’s release clause a year early to ensure he would officially become a Red in July 2018.
Mintzlaff has explained how the unrelenting efforts to sign Keita helped Liverpool overcome Barcelona in the race for his signature.
The CEO said: “That’s right, even more so because Barcelona were also interested in Naby Keita,” as reported by the Independent.
“This was confirmed to us by Barcelona, but obviously they didn’t try as hard as Liverpool.”
“Keita wanted the transfer this summer. But [sporting director] Ralf Rangnick had told the team that we will not sell any players [at that time].”
Keita has since featured heavily in the headlines, for both good and bad reasons.
The box-to-box star received three red cards in seven games for club and country last month, sparking debate over his disciplinary concerns.
That said, the touch of nastiness he has demonstrated over the past couple of weeks has been welcomed by some Reds who feel his grit may be of significant value to Jurgen Klopp’s side.
Keita’s latest headline-making move was thankfully positive as he scored a superb goal in Leipzig’s 4-1 Champions League win over Monaco.
Hopefully Anfield will be seeing more of the latter.