Top 22-year-old can carry Liverpool into bright future, says ex-defender

Liverpool legend Steve Nicol talks up Naby Keita amid talk of the Reds signing the RB Leipzig midfielder

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp Photo: New Balance

Naby Keita is a player capable of carrying the Liverpool side in the future, according to Steve Nicol.

The Reds have been regularly linked with a move to sign the Guinea international from Bundesliga runners-up RB Leipzig in the summer transfer window.

Liverpool were rumoured to have failed with a £57m offer for the 22-year-old earlier this month despite Keita being available to sign in a £48m deal next summer due to a clause in his contract which will kick in at the end of the 2017-18 campaign.

The Reds are thought to have retained their interest despite failing with a club-record bid as Klopp looks to add the dynamic midfielder to his team ahead of the start of the new Premier League campaign and a return to the Champions League.

Keita scored eight goals and made seven assists in his first season in Bundesliga after RB Leipzig signed Keita in a £12.75m deal from Austrian outfit Red Bull Salzburg last summer.

Speaking to ESPN FC on Monday about whether Liverpool should prioritise signing Keita or Southampton’s Dutch defender Virgil van Dijk, Nicol said:

“Keita is more expensive and I think he gives you more. He is box to box. He can score goals.

“He can put the team on his back in a few seasons when he has a little more experience. He is still young.”

Liverpool finished in fourth place last season to secure a long-awaited return to the Champions League in their first full season under Klopp.

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