LONDON, United Kingdom, Aug 29 – Guinea international midfielder Naby Keita will join Premier League giants Liverpool next year after the English outfit agreed a reported club record deal of Sh6.4bn (£48mn) with German side RB Leipzig.
Liverpool will also reportedly pay an undisclosed premium for the 22-year-old, who scored eight goals in 31 league appearances last term to help Leipzig finish runners-up in the title race.
“Liverpool Football Club can confirm they have reached an agreement with RB Leipzig for the future transfer of Naby Keita,” read the Liverpool statement.
“The Reds have agreed a deal with the German club and the midfielder that will see the 22-year-old move to Anfield on July 1, 2018 following the conclusion of the current season.”
Keita, who will be a pivotal figure in Leipzig’s maiden Champions League campaign this term, said his present side remained his immediate priority but he was delighted to be joining such a historic club.
“I am delighted that an agreement has been reached which will allow me to join Liverpool Football Club next summer, when I will become part of a project that excites me greatly,” Keita told the Liverpool website.
“My commitment to RBL remains absolute for the remainder of my time at the club. I have given my all every time I have worn the shirt -– that will be the case until the final whistle, in my final appearance.
“Having my future resolved means I can now focus on helping RBL achieve great things this season. Until I join my new club, next summer, I will remain an interested supporter from a distance.”
Liverpool’s previous transfer record was the £35 million they paid Newcastle United to sign Andy Carroll in January 2011.
An athletic box-to-box midfielder, Keita has been a longstanding target for Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp.
He began his career with Horoya in his home city of Conakry and spent a season at French second-tier side Istres before joining Red Bull Salzburg in 2014.
Salzburg sold him to RB Leipzig, their German sister club, in June last year.
RB Leipzig’s director Oliver Mintzlaff explained the German club’s decision to sell their Guinea midfielder.
“For us, it was always clear that Naby Keita would play here this season — that was unnegotiable,” said Mintzlaff.
“He is an outstanding player and an important part of our successful team.
“With this current solution, we can all concentrate again on our exciting challenges again on the pitch.”
During the current transfer window, Liverpool’s Klopp has signed Egyptian winger Mohamed Salah, Scottish left-back Andy Robertson and English striker Dominic Solanke.
Liverpool’s 4-0 win over Arsenal on Sunday left them second in the Premier League table, two points below Manchester United, after three games.