Football: RB Leipzig say Naby Keita will have to wait until July for Liverpool move

Liverpool are set to pay around €70 million (S$112.9 million) for Keita when he joins in July, but reports had claimed they would have had to pay an extra €15 million for his release this January.
Liverpool are set to pay around €70 million (S$112.9 million) for Keita when he joins in July, but reports had claimed they would have had to pay an extra €15 million for his release this January.PHOTO: AFP

BERLIN (AFP) - RB Leipzig on Sunday (Jan 14) ruled out an early switch to Liverpool for their star midfielder Naby Keita, who is scheduled to join the Merseyside giants next season.

The 22-year-old has a contract to join Liverpool in the next transfer window, but Liverpool reportedly wanted the Guinean to join them sooner after selling Philippe Coutinho to Barcelona last week for £142 million (S$257.7 million).

However, Leipzig insisted once and for all that Keita will not leave before the end of the season with an official statement.

"OFFICIAL: Naby # Keita will remain an #RBLeipzig player until June 30, 2018. We wish to put the speculation about a January move to @LFC (Liverpool) to bed," RB Leipzig wrote on their Twitter account.

Leipzig then tweeted a quote from their director of sport Ralf Rangnick. "We won't allow Liverpool to sign him early, even though they have shown renewed interest to bring him in during this transfer window," said Rangnick.

Keita showed his class with a deflected goal from the edge of the box in Saturday's 3-1 home win over Schalke, a victory that moved Leipzig up to second in the German Bundesliga table.

Germany's top-selling daily Bild ran the headline "Bye-bye goal for Keita?" and many other German media outlets speculated earlier over the weekend that this was his final match for Leipzig.

Jurgen Klopp's Liverpool are set to pay around €70 million (S$112.9 million) for Keita when he joins in July, but reports had claimed they would have had to pay an extra €15 million for his release this January.