Jurgen Klopp may consider Naby Keita to be ‘outstanding’ but there’s a good chance that Liverpool sell him in January. Or at least try to.
2023 promises to be a massive year for Liverpool in the transfer window. Their midfield needs major work and all talk suggests that Jude Bellingham is their no.1 transfer target.
He won’t come cheap, however. Liverpool need funds – both for transfer fees and wages. They’ll also need to clear out space in their midfield options, given Bellingham – or whoever they sign – will leapfrog current players.
Some of that space will happen naturally. Naby Keita, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and James Milner are all out of contract in 2023 and there’s little talk around new deals.
But will Liverpool definitely wait? We wonder if Keita, above all, could find himself a new club as soon as next month.
Naby Keita in January
Oxlade-Chamberlain and Milner don’t carry too much transfer value. The former’s injury record makes him a risk for any side, while the latter is 36. Liverpool couldn’t realistically sell either even if they wanted to.
Keita, though, could certainly help teams this season. On top of that, he still does command some sort of value as he’s a quality player in his prime years. Jurgen Klopp labelled him ‘outstanding’ just this year. The 27-year-old just isn’t one that Liverpool have found reliable.
We wonder, then, if the Reds could try to sell Keita early. Journalist Neil Jones, writing on Substack, claims that selling the Guinean is an option for January as it appears unlikely that he will sign a new contract.
Keita represents a chance to both free up space in the squad and the wage bill with his expiring contract. But he could also be a way to bring in a small number of funds for any signings Liverpool want to make.
No, teams won’t spend a fortune on a player who only has a few months left on his deal. But we can’t imagine Keita would love to wait around until June, given any new January signing would leave him fifth in the pecking order. Maybe even sixth, depending on how highly you rate Harvey Elliott.
An early sale could benefit everyone, then, and we’d be shocked if Liverpool weren’t considering it.