Liverpool abandon pursuit of long-term transfer target

Lawrence Cooper
July 30, 2017

RB Leipzig sporting director Ralf Rangnick has attempted to clarify his "village" comment when discussing the future of midfielder Naby Keita.

Keita would have been a huge new club record for Liverpool, but instead the Guinean now marks the second high profile target the Reds have failed to land this summer after publicly removing themselves from the Virgil van Dijk race in light of "tapping up" allegations a few weeks ago.

"The chance [of Keita leaving] is null".

Leipzig's stance has always been not to sell Keita, even in the face of offers that hit £57m and £67m, and the Champions League club have shown no inclination to soften.

The Bundesliga side have rejected two offers from Liverpool, the latest a package worth £66million.

"I know Naby from the very first day when he came to Salzburg", he said. It is 100% clear that Naby will play this year with Leipzig and at the beginning of the transfer window we said we would start with the same team with all the main players we had last year and that no one will go and that will be our answer now also. "They will finish their transfer activities and that is okay for me".

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'Everyone can see how important Naby Keita is with our game. Previous year in the summer it was not so easy to get all the new good players.

"We are a very young players and I think for them it is very important to play the first year in the Champions League as a team".

There has, however, been rumblings of a third bid being submitted by Liverpool - following Ragnick's controversial comments and a training ground bust up - in a last ditch effort to bolster their midfield ahead of the new Premier League season.

Keita reportedly has a clause in his contract that allows him to leave for £48m next summer, so the 22-year-old could still end up at Anfield. "You have to ask other people", he added.

"Until next summer we keep it [the door] closed".

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