Liverpool and Jurgen Klopp are having a fabulous week right now. After thrashing Arsenal 4-0 before the international break, the Merseyside team have finalised the agreement for their primary target Naby Keita. The Guinean has been linked with Liverpool since the first day of the summer but still, Klopp was unable to lure him to Anfield after the club had two bids rejected.
The club record deal for Keita will make him eligible to play for Liverpool from next season onwards. He will sign a contract on 1 July 2018 and then will ply his trade in the Premier League. This is a rare kind of a deal in England, but it can assure Naby Keita of having a secured future. RB Leipzig were reluctant to let their midfielder leave but constant efforts from Liverpool saw them strike a deal.
RB Leipzig finished runners-up behind powerhouse Bayern Munich last year in the Bundesliga. Their impressive performance was a result of Keita’s breakthrough season. He worked like a tireless machine for Leipzig in the centre of the park. The Guinean made 34 appearances in the league and scored eight goals in the process.
He had a pass accuracy of 81% and won 43% of the duels. He committed 2.6 tackles and interceptions in the match. The Guinean created 41 chances during his stay on the pitch and was one of the league’s most creative players.
The former Salzburg midfielder had seven assists to his name and made 1.3 key passes in every game. He took 1.4 shots on an average in every game as well, showing that he wasn’t afraid to test the opposing goalkeepers. These statistics are a witness to the consistent performances that Keita gave every week. (Source: WhoScored)
What does he offer Liverpool?
It is visible from the above stats that the 22-year old is a versatile player. He takes on challenges head on and rarely fails to deliver. He works like a tireless machine at the centre of the pitch. Keita can play as both a defensive as well as an attacking midfielder. He is a good ball winner. His interception skills will help the team to regain possession of the ball.
Moreover, his first touch is silky and sublime. Naby Keita reads the game well and knows exactly when to switch positions. His involvement in 15 goals last season, coupled with his defensive contribution is impeccable. It might be a far-fetched imagination, but he can be a replacement for Steven Gerrard.
Is he worth the money?
Liverpool activated Naby Keita’s 48 million pound release clause with a premium on top. In this inflated market, this seems like a bargain for such a versatile player. He offers Jurgen Klopp everything that the German manager likes in his midfielders. Tactical intelligence, game awareness and batteries of energy; he can propel the Reds to Premier League glory. It’s a shame the Liverpool fans will have to wait until next season to have a glimpse of the midfielder.