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Sports

Liverpool snap up Guinean international Naby Keita in €51m deal with Leipzig

media Naby Keita in action against Schalke 04 on 19 August 2017. Photo: Wolfgang Rattay/Reuters

Liverpool have agreed a 51 million euro deal with German side RB Leipzig for Guinean midfielder Naby Keita. The Premier League giants said they had come to an agreement with the German club that sees the 22-year-old move to Liverpool at the end of this season.

“I will become part of a project that excites me greatly,” said Keita, according to a statement published on Liverpool’s website. “I am delighted that an agreement has been reached which will allow me to join Liverpool Football Club next summer.”

Conakry-born Keita scored eight goals in 29 Bundesliga starts and was nominated twice for the league’s Rookie of the Month award.

He started his career aged nine at Horoya AC before moving to France where he had unsuccessful spells at FC Lorient and Le Mans. He was eventually signed by Ligue 2 side FC Istres and after a single season moved to Austrian champions Salzburg where he was crowned Austrian Bundesliga Player of the Year and won two league titles.

Keita scored on his debut against Borussia Dortmund after subsequently moving to Leipzig and was described as one of the biggest sensations of 2016/2017. He helped the Red Bull-owned side to a top-three spot in the German league resulting in qualification for the UEFA Champions League.

The Guinean described his commitment to Leipzig as remaining “absolute” for the rest of the season, having given his all for the club and wanting to remain a supporter from afar.

“Having my future resolved means I can now focus on helping RBL achieve great things this season”, said Keita.

Keita had been a target of Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp for some time, according to reports, but Leipzig refused to sell him.

The future Liverpool player is likely to play a key role in Leipzig’s Champions League campaign this season. The German side have been drawn in Group G alongside Monaco, Porto and Beşiktaş.

If Leipzig progress through to the knock-out phase of the competition it is possible that Keita could face his future employer if Liverpool also succeed in making it past the group stage.

Keita could feature for Guinea on Thursday in their World Cup qualifier match against Libya. Keita flew into Manchester ahead of the game for a private medical as part of the Liverpool deal, the British media reported.

Naby Keita's top five goals - 2016/17 season

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