Guinean midfielder Naby Keita will join English football giants Liverpool FC as the most expensive African footballer. According to reports, the Reds will pay the £48m release clause that will allow Keita to join the club. The club will also pay an undisclosed premium. The move now makes the 22-year-old Liverpool’s most expensive signing ever. Keita becomes the most expensive African footballer ever.
Keita, the Red Bull Leipzig star has risen exponentially over the last 12 months. The player had an impressive campaign. He scored eight goals in 31 games for the Bundesliga’s surprise package.
Liverpool needed Keita to bolster their ranks ahead of a Champions League campaign. However, Leipzig had appeared reluctant to sell. The Bundesliga Player of the Year runner-up was rated at a staggering £70 million. The top sides are desperate to find midfielders who can both break up the play and also bring the ball up the pitch quickly to help initiate attacks. Quality midfielder have been sought after following the success of N’Golo Kante’s 2015-16 exploits and an impressive campaign from Tottenham’s Victor Wanyama.
Following the move, Keita expressed his delight. However, he reiterated that he would remain fully committed to his current club.
“I am delighted that an agreement has been reached which will allow me to join Liverpool Football Club next summer, when I will become part of a project that excites me greatly,” he said. “My commitment to RBL remains absolute for the remainder of my time at the club”.
“I have given my all every time I have worn the shirt – that will be the case until the final whistle, in my final appearance,” Keita said.
“Having my future resolved means I can now focus on helping RBL achieve great things this season. Until I join my new club, next summer, I will remain an interested supporter from a distance.”
Interest in the 22-year-old and his meteorite rise may have inflated his price tag. At a then rumored £70 million it seemed likely. Before Keita’s move, two other Liverpool players were the most expensive African footballers – Egyptian winger Mohamed Salah (£36.9 M) and Senegalese forward Sadio Mane (£34 M). After Keita’s Liverpool move, the 2018/19 season could potentially see Liverpool deploy four Africans in its first team, the fourth being Cameroonian defender Joel Matip.
Recently, Keita scored a stunning goal just seven minutes in to Guinea’s World Cup qualifier against Libya in Conakry. Guinea eventually won 3-2. Liverpool fans also celebrated the goal.