naby keita

Why Every Club Should Be After Naby Keita

The transfer window has been shot wide open with every single club jostling to make reinforcements to their squads. But what we seem not to understand is why none is looking towards the direction of last season's Bundesliga breakout star, Naby Keita.

If you followed RB Leipzig's fairytale run last term, then you will agree with me that Keita was unarguably their stand out performer. Leipzig, in their maiden appearance in the German top flight, finished as runner-up, behind serial winners, Bayern Munich. Certainly, an unbelievable achievement for a club only founded about eight years ago.

But it wasn't just the East-German side that was getting a first feel of the Bundesliga. Some of its players too had no prior knowledge of the nitty-gritty of the league; one of whom was young Guinea midfielder, Naby Keita. The 22-year-old had arrived at the Saxony from sister club, RB Salzburg, to minimal fanfare last year. And just like his club, he now charms worldwide attention after delighting fans with his wonderful vision, tantalising technique and dexterous dribbling.

He was the complete midfield package; one never envisaged in Deutschland, capturing the imagination of football enthusiasts with his top-notch box-to-box style. Not your orthodox holding midfielder, Keita thrives at winning the ball back, carrying it all the way up the pitch and then using it to devastate his opponents. No wonder he led the pack when it came to successful take-ons, averaging 3.05 per game.

While managing to regain and retain possession steadily, Keita also adds an extra ingredient to his bag of goods. The Guinea international springs forward unannounced, contributing his quota to his side's attack. A reason he finished the season as The Bull's second top scorer with eight goals and seven assists behind Timo Werner. But his incredible goalscoring prowess is no coincidence. The 22-year-old has constantly been a regular customer in front of goal. Over the last three seasons, he has contributed about 40 strikes prior to joining Ralph Hasenhüttl's team.

“He's a player. Having seen him in action, he reminds me of N'Golo Kante. He has that same level of potential and looks as though he'd make the step up in his stride. Of course, a lot of other clubs are also looking at him. And this is where finishing in the top four makes such a difference. Yes, he'd have a chance to play in the Premier League at a great football club. But being in the Champions League is where the best players want to be.” - Liverpool legend, Jan Molby.

And for these reasons we all expected legions of top European sides, especially Premier League teams, to come crawling at him. However, this hasn't been the case. Liverpool is the only club that has reportedly shown a keen interest in the player who was named in the Bundesliga Team of the Year. Jurgen Klopp is understood to be eyeing the Guinean to bolster his midfield in readiness for next season's Champions League. However, the Reds' sole interest in the Guinean is somewhat degrading, considering his immense contribution last term and massive potentials.

Though Hasenhüttl had claimed the 22-year-old "will stay with us forever", such is very unlikely considering the player himself suggested otherwise.

“I feel absolutely comfortable here, but I need to free up my mind,” he told Kicker. “Where fate ultimately will lead me, nobody knows. I’m learning to do this piece by piece, I see my life, my career as a journey step by step, rung for rung continuously upward I’ll climb to grow.”

Keita is unquestionably a star future and we expect everyone to be talking about him like we've just done.

About the Author Toby

An unrepentant soccer freak other freaks call geek.

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