Thursday Nov 23, 2017. 11:30
Red Bull Leipzig chief Oliver Mintzlaff has revealed that Liverpool fought off competition from Barcelona to sign Guinea star Naby Keita.
The dynamic midfielder has agreed a big-money deal to join Liverpool at the end of the current 2017/18 season.
Mintzlaff confirmed Barca’s interest when talking to Bild, as he said the following when asked if Jurgen Klopp’s determination to sign Keita was decisive: "That's right, even more so because Barcelona were also interested in Naby Keita.
"This was confirmed to us by Barcelona, but obviously they didn't try as hard as Liverpool."
He added: "He [Keita] wanted the transfer this summer. But [sporting director] Ralf Rangnick told the team that we will not sell any players [at that time].
“This was not lip service - it was set in stone. Had we released Keita, other players might have come up with a similar idea
“It [the Liverpool move] gave the player more security, but also left us with a significantly higher transfer fee."