Clubs, English Premier League, Liverpool, Naby Keita, RB Leipzig, Story, Transfers

Gab Marcotti explains why Liverpool and RB Leipzig are in a stalemate over the English side’s pursuit of Naby Keita.

RB Leipzig have told Liverpool that Naby Keita is not for sale at any price after turning down a €68 million bid last week, a source has told ESPN FC.

Earlier this summer, German media had quoted an unofficial price tag of €80m (£70m) for Keita and Liverpool are reported to be planning to meet that valuation, but Leipzig insist that there is “no figure” that could sway their minds on the 22-year-old Guinea international.

“We will not enter into negotiations at all,” a club source told ESPN FC. “A decision has been made that none of our key players will be sold and we’re sticking to it.”

RB sporting director Ralf Rangnick is determined that Leipzig give a good account of themselves in the Champions League and challenge Bayern Munich for the Bundesliga in the coming season.

The club’s head coach, Ralph Hasenhuttl, has said Keita and Emil Forsberg “feel great” at the Bundesliga club despite continued speculation over their futures.

“You can see that they feel great here and are looking forward to the new season,” Hasenhuttl told kicker after the pair returned to training. “They know very well what they have here.

“It’s a huge compliment for us that we awoke such desires, but it’s not the general idea of our path to allow players a transfer following the first available offer. Our goal is to become a big and established club, and what we did this summer is a substantial step towards it.”

Privately, Leipzig are aware that Keita’s representative may to attempt a final push for a move in coming weeks, but last season’s Bundesliga runners-up remain determined to rebuff any further approaches.

Keita, however, might yet become a Liverpool player in 2018 as a release clause in his contract would allow him to leave in 12 months’ time for €55m.

However, kicker reported Forsberg has no such clause in his deal, which he only signed in February.

ESPN FC’s Germany correspondent, Stephan Uersfeld, contributed to this report.

Raphael Honigstein is ESPN FC’s German football expert and a regular guest on ESPN FC TV. He also writes for the Guardian. Twitter: @honigstein.

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