Reports: Liverpool agrees Keita deal for 2018

AFP
Liverpool has agreed a club-record fee to sign midfielder Naby Keita from Germany's RB Leipzig, with the 22-year-old set to join the EPL club in July 2018, British reports said.
AFP
Reuters

RB Leipzig's Naby Keita (left) in action with Schalke's Daniel Caligiuri during their Bundesliga match in Gelsenkirchen on August 19, 2017.

Liverpool has agreed to sign Guinean midfielder Naby Keita from RB Leipzig in a club-record deal next year, according to British media reports on Monday.

Several news outlets, including the BBC and the Times, said Liverpool has agreed to pay a 48-million pound (US$62 million) release clause to sign the 22-year-old.

The Reds will reportedly pay an undisclosed premium as well.

Keita was reported to have undergone a medical at Liverpool's Melwood training base on Monday. He will officially join the club on July 1, 2018.

Liverpool is yet to make an official announcement about the deal.

The 22-year-old would become Liverpool's most expensive signing, surpassing the fee of 42 million euros (US$50 million) the club paid to sign winger Mohamed Salah from AS Roma in June.

An athletic box-to-box midfielder, Keita has been a longstanding target for Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp.

He began his career with Horoya in his home city of Conakry and spent a season at French second-tier side Istres before joining Red Bull Salzburg in 2014.

Salzburg sold him to its German sister club RB Leipzig in June last year. He scored eight goals and provided eight assists to help Leipzig finish second in the German Bundesliga last season behind Bayern Munich.

Klopp has also signed Scottish left-back Andy Robertson and English striker Dominic Solanke during the current transfer window.

Liverpool's 4-0 win over Arsenal on Sunday left the Reds second in the English Premier League table, two points below Manchester United.

Meanwhile, Barcelona sporting director Robert Fernandez hinted on Monday that he is negotiating with Liverpool over Philippe Coutinho and hoped to complete a deal before the transfer window closes.

After signing Ousmane Dembele from Borussia Dortmund for a fee which could rise to 147 million euros, Fernandez announced his intention to bring two more players to the Nou Camp.

"It's true we are in negotiations over a player to try and sign them. We hope to reach a deal and present a new player," said Fernandez told a news conference when asked about Barcelona's hopes of signing Brazil playmaker Coutinho.

Barcelona had also been linked to Nice midfielder Jean Michael Seri.

"Seri is totally ruled out. After analyzing (the situation) calmly, we decided that our priority was other positions," Fernandez said.

Reuters

Barcelona's new signing Ousmane Dembele and team president Josep Maria Bartomeu pose with the French striker's No. 11 Barcelona jersey during his official unveiling at the Nou Camp on August 28, 2017.

Barcelona's top target

Coutinho plays in a more advanced role than Seri and is reported to be Barcelona's top target, with Paris Saint-Germain's Angel Di Maria also linked to the club.

"My intention is to sign another player, if it's possible, two," added Fernandez.

Barcelona, which sold Neymar for a world-record 222 million euros at the start of August, has added Gerard Deulofeu, Nelson Semedo, Marlon, Paulinho and Dembele to its squad for the new season.

In a reaction to selling Dembele to Barcelona three days ago, Dortmund signed Ukraine winger Andriy Yarmolenko from Dynamo Kiev on Monday.

The 27-year-old, who will wear the No. 9 shirt, has spent his entire professional career at Dynamo, making 339 appearances over the course of 11 seasons and scoring 137 goals.

"I'm very grateful that Dynamo Kiev have allowed me to fulfil my dream by moving to a big European club," he said in a statement on Dortmund's website. "I will work hard in training to help BVB reach their highest goals."

France international Dembele, who scored 10 goals and provided 20 assists in all competitions to help Dortmund finish third in the Bundesliga last season, was sold to Barcelona on Friday for 105 million euros.

The deal's add-ons will make it the second most expensive transfer of all time.

Yarmolenko, who won three Ukrainian league titles with Dynamo, has made 69 appearances for Ukraine, scoring 29 goals.

"Andriy is a player we've been following for some time," said Dortmund's sporting director Michael Zorc.

His signing comes after confusion reigned on Saturday when head coach Peter Bosz wrongly confirmed interest in Ajax's Kasper Dolberg.

The Dutch coach misheard a question about the Danish forward from Sky pundit and ex-Germany international Christoph Metzelder before Dortmund's 2-0 win over Hertha Berlin.

"We have to see if everything works. I think it will, but nothing is 100 percent sure," Bosz replied, but the club later revealed the Dutch boss thought he was being asked about Dembele's transfer.

Dortmund is doing well without Dembele and Yarmolenko will have to fight for a place.

It has won both league games so far to top the Bundesliga table on goal difference from defending champion Bayern with US international Christian Pulisic impressing in Dembele's place on the right wing.



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