The Struggle For Naby Keïta Is Worth It – He Would Take Liverpool To The Next Level

The Struggle For Naby Keïta Is Worth It – He Would Take Liverpool To The Next Level
Aug 2, 2017

Featured Liverpool

Reports have indicated that Liverpool have done everything in their power to lure Naby Keïta to Anfield. The dynamic central midfielder supposedly wants the move, and Jürgen Klopp almost surely wants the move, but new German giants RB Leipzig are reluctant to sell and have even threatened to take action against Liverpool for illegal approaches.

This, combined with the ridiculous £70 million fee touted in the media and the workload required to take Keïta to Liverpool, would be deemed a poor investment, but from a pure footballing perspective, this deal would elevate Liverpool to the next level tactically, while sending a message to the rest of Europe.

Last season, Liverpool typically lined up with a central midfield trio of Jordan Henderson, Adam Lallana, and Georginio Wijnaldum, three footballers who had excellent seasons under Klopp. The signing of Mohammed Salah arguably pushes Philippe Coutinho into the midfield pool as well, leaving three attacking midfielders for two spots in their Starting XI.

However, Liverpool’s attacking tactics resulted in a defensive suffering last season, as the Merseyside giants conceded 42 goals in the Premier League last season. Three-quarters of Liverpool’s back four were also excellent last season, but there was often a lack of protection from the aggressive midfield trio that featured two players suited to playing as the most advanced central midfielder.

Keïta has established himself as the complete package in the Bundesliga at such an early age, a hybrid between the energy and defensive prowess of Chelsea’s N’Golo Kante and the creative ability of Manchester United’s Paul Pogba, albeit not quite proven to the same extent as either yet.

However, at 22, Keïta has plenty of time to reach that level on a consistent basis and considering his form saw him named the second-best player in the Bundesliga behind Robert Lewandowski last season, he could be in esteemed company for the rest of his playing career.

A midfielder who can average 2.6 tackles and 2.6 interceptions while being directly involved in 15 goals over a domestic campaign isn’t just rare, but almost non-existent. Combine this with Keïta’s 1.3 key passes and 2.7 dribbles per game, and he becomes a threat beyond any Liverpool player, let alone midfielder if he could replicate this type of form.

The unique nature of Keïta’s abilities would allow Liverpool to improve their defence massively while also maintaining their attacking impetus. Playing alongside Coutinho and in front of Henderson, Liverpool’s midfield would become even more balanced while maintaining goal scoring threat. Furthermore, though, the signing would be impactful for Liverpool on a statement scale, too.

Liverpool, once one of the best clubs in world football, are far from it now, struggling to keep their best players and attract the best players. However, the big-money signing of Keïta, a player who would improve the best sides in football on current form, would signal a change in fate for a side that seems to be rising back to former heights under Jürgen Klopp.

Liverpool would do well to qualify for next season’s Champions League after being given the extra weight of European football, and Keïta represents an addition with the quality and tactical suitability to become the key cog in their journey. Ideally signed to play alongside Coutinho, Keïta’s move could also be financed by the sale of the Brazilian, proving to Europe’s elite that Liverpool will no longer be a stepping stone in the transfer market.

Signing Keïta seems quite the endeavour for Jürgen Klopp and Liverpool, but in the long-term, it could be their most important signing in years.

 

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