Player Zone: Naby Keita is worth the £60m gamble

Having secured Champions League football for next season, Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has proclaimed that he wishes all his summer business could be done “tomorrow.”

Whilst that would require some sort of miracle to be pulled off, it’s worth taking a look at those who Klopp would like to see arriving through the doors at Anfield.

If The Times are to be believed the former Borussia Dortmund boss has placed RB Leipzig’s Naby Keita atop his list of summer signings, but will have to fork out a club-record fee somewhere between £50million-60million to land a deal. So, is the midfielder who helped take the Bundesliga by storm last season worth the plunge?

Keita (right) works alongside teammate Bernardo to fend off Bayern Munich’s Thiago.

On the face of it, it seems as if he could well be. The combative midfielder made a huge contribution both defensively and going forward as the energy-drink-fuelled side reached Champions League qualification in their first season as a top flight team.

Keita ranked, according to Squawka, in the top ten of Bundesliga midfielders in terms of interceptions last season, whilst also ranking top for successful take-ons with 66% of his 77 attempted going the right way.

The Guinea international, who is actually rated at £18.7m by Transfermarkt despite Liepzig’s valuation, also chipped in with eight goals and another eight assists from central midfield across the season and has proven time and again that he can create something from nothing with a quick ball or canny run from deep.

Of course Keita can’t be the finished article; there are weaknesses to his game. The No. 8 ranked third in the league amongst midfielders for fouls committed and won just 26% of his aerial duels, two factors which must improve should he make the step up to the Premier League.

However, from what we’ve already seen of this young, explosive, midfielder who could well be compared to current Red Georginio Wijnaldum, there is plenty for Klopp to work with over the next few seasons as he looks to continue the progress towards success both at home and on the continent.

Leipzig, then, are understandably desperate to keep their man, hence the inflamed price tag, however, if the whispers surrounding Liverpool’s interest are true they would be hard fought to deny the 22-year-old a dream Anfield move.