Liverpool willing to shell out record fee for Naby Keita

Liverpool are reportedly willing to pay a club record fee to bring RB Leipzig midfielder Naby Keita to Anfield.

Leipzig insist the 22-year-old Guinea international is not for sale, as they want him part of a squad that will get its first taste of Champions League football next season.

“It would be negligent to give away one of our key players now,” Leipzig CEO Oliver Mintzlaff said recently. “Emil (Forsberg) and Naby are both extremely talented players with a lot of potential.

“We are delighted that we as a club can keep up with their development and that we can prove ourselves in the Champions League in the upcoming season.”

But Jurgen Klopp and the Reds have not yet given up hope.

Keita is believed to have a £70m price tag, although he has a £48m release clause in his contract that can be unlocked next summer.

Liverpool have not yet submitted a bid, but Klopp is said to be a huge admirer of the player, and they are expected to continue their pursuit.

If Liverpool are to succeed with their bid, it will certainly have to be a lot more than their previous record transfer fees – the £34m paid to Roma for Mohamed Salah and the £35m paid to Newcastle United to secure the services of Andy Carroll in January 2011.

Klopp is said to have the full backing of Liverpool’s owners Fenway Sports Group in the transfer market.

The German has come very close to securing his side’s place in the Champions League, pending the outcome of a play-off.

More good news for the Reds is that Leipzig have recently signed a potential replacement for Keita in Konrad Laimer.

The 20-year-old joins from Austrian side Red Bull Salzburg on a four-year contract.