According to recent reports, Liverpool have entered the race to sign Lazio sensation Keita Balde Diao. Many clubs, including Tottenham Hotspur and Juventus, are fighting for the Senegalese forward. He is just 22 years old and is coming back off a spectacular season at Lazio.
The Senegalese has turned down a contract extension at the Stadio Olimpico.
His agent though, denied that there had even been an offer for a renewal, stating:
“After a few months apart, we met with the president [Claudio Lotito],” he told Sky Sports Italia.
“They communicated to us that they have reached an agreement with Milan, so we realised that he is on the market. Now we will assess our options.
“It’s difficult to know what the price is when it comes to Lazio. We talked about many things with Claudio Lotito, but there has never been a concrete offer of a renewal.”
His contract at Lazio ends in June 2018, so it is high time for the club to decide whether to sell him for a certain price or risk losing him for free at the end of next season.
The wide-man scored a bucket load of goals last season. His standout performance was the five-minute hat-trick he bagged against Palermo. He also followed that up with a sensational brace against fierce rivals Roma in the Rome Derby.
Keita scored 16 goals and managed 3 assists in all competitions last season. He averages 2.3 shots, 1.4 dribbles and 1.7 key passes per game respectively. The winger also gets fouled a lot, with him taking 2 fouls per game, which shows it’s hard to take the ball off him. (Stats via whoscored)
What he offers Liverpool
The attacker offers a very different threat to that of Roberto Firmino. With Liverpool playing more fixtures this season and Jürgen Klopp’s football being played at break-neck speed, there is a need for them to strengthen at every position.
The Senegalese also offers a great threat off the bench, potentially a game-changing one. He can counter at blistering pace, has shown that he is more than capable of finishing off attacks.
Liverpool need one more player of the Sadio Mane mould, as witnessed when the former Southampton man had a spell out due to injury in April. Without him, Liverpool looked toothless and Keita can certainly step in.
At what price?
If Balde continues to insist on a move away, Lazio may be forced to accept a lower price than they would like. This is because of the fact that his contract expires next June and Lazio may have to let him go for a price of around 25 to 30m Pounds.