Naby Keita has to be Liverpool’s no.1 target
So there have been many stories in the press of how much money Jurgen Klopp will have to spend in the summer transfer window. If the rumours of having a £200m warchest are actually true, then the gossip columns will be very busy during the summer!!
The ‘We need a proper defensive midfielder’ have again begun to circulate.
Over the last few months this has really intensified, largely down to seeing how great Chelsea have been. Matches where N’Golo Kanté has dominated the centre of the pitch have been a joy to watch. Those who have watched Chelsea closely will have seen how well he does the simple stuff. Efficiency at it’s best. Nullifying opposing attacks, then forming a solid foundation allowing the creative players the freedom to attack.
Getting Kanté MkII
So where do we get our own Kante from? The latest and best name as a possibility, has to be Naby Keita from RB Leipzig.
Because of his stature he has been compared to Kanté a lot. However the Guinean is more attack minded than Kanté. It’s this versatility that could make him perfect in Liverpool’s midfield.
He is currently deployed as one of the defensive two in RB Leipzig’s 4-2-2-2 formation, so would naturally work alongside Henderson, Wijnaldum and Can. His ability to cover a lot of ground quicky would provide continuity for Klopp’s pressing style. This season he’s managed an impressive 2.6 interceptions per game, compared to Kanté who has 2.2, while Henderson has 1.7.
In 24 Bundesliga starts this season he has managed to score eight goals whilst providing seven assists.
What can he offer?
In the absence of Lallana we have sorely missed someone to pick up the ball from midfield and just run. Too many sideways balls from Can, Lucas and Wijnaldum have many reds fans calling for Coutinho to play a deeper role just to provide a bit of variety. However this is another area Keita can excel. This season he has averaged a superb 2.9 completed dribbles per game. To put this into perspective Henderson has 0.2, Can 0.6 and Wijnaldum 0.7. The obvious question is can he do the same in the Premier League whete the intensity is greater than the Bundesliga.
As well as his dribbling, Keita has proven he can break lines with his creative passing. While he completes less passes and a lower percentage of his passes than Henderson, Wijnaldum and Can, he makes more key passes than all three.
Could we actually sign him?
Last season we had a lot of targets and many feel the transfer window wasn’t as successful as many had hoped. Keita would be a difficult signing to make due as naturally there has been a lot of interest from several of Europe’s top clubs.
Still, if Klopp could lure the African star to Anfield, he would bring a bit of everything to the Liverpool midfield. We would need Champions League football to ensure any possibility of a deal happening.
The first target should be just that, get Champions League football to ensure we are in a position to walk before we run.
He’d be an amazing signing and for some considered a Marque signing. Him alongside Virgil van Dijk in our starting lineup would be a big step in the right direction!