Fabrizio Romano responds after Liverpool player linked with stunning move to one of Europe’s biggest clubs

Joel Matip and Naby Keita of Liverpool Credit: Alamy
Joel Matip and Naby Keita of Liverpool Credit: Alamy

Transfer guru Fabrizio Romano has provided his information after Barcelona were tipped to sign midfielder Naby Keita from Liverpool at the end of the season.

Keita is unlikely to be at Liverpool when next season starts. His contract at Anfield expires in June and Liverpool do not look like they are going to offer him an extension, with a midfield rebuild in the works. Offloading players such as Keita and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain will make space on the wage bill for a couple of new, high-quality midfielders.

Keita is currently evaluating his options. Teams from Italy’s Serie A and the German Bundesliga are thought to be interested.

On Saturday, though, Spanish newspaper Sport suggested the Guinea international could go to Barca. The Spanish giants are scouring the market for potential free agents due to their financial issues. Keita has apparently cropped up on their radar.

Xavi’s side are also looking into deals for Ilkay Gundogan, N’Golo Kante and Youri Tielemans. Clearly they are keeping their options open when it comes to midfield reinforcements.

In his latest column for CaughtOffside, Romano has given the latest on Keita’s situation. While he has hinted Barca are eyeing the Reds man up, no final decision has been made by the club or player just yet.

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“Barca are linked to all the possible free agents,” Romano admitted. “But at the moment, nothing is concrete or advanced between Keita and any other club. He will decide in the next [few] months. Barca are exploring the free agents market but nothing is ‘serious’ yet.”

It seems Barca will wait until towards the end of the season before committing to Keita or opting to bring in an alternative midfielder.

Barcelona can get better midfielders than Liverpool flop

It would be a huge shock if the 28-year-old secured a transfer to Barca, who are one of Europe’s most successful clubs and the current La Liga leaders. Keita has not justified the £52.75million transfer fee Liverpool paid for him in 2018. He has spent plenty of time in the treatment room as he is injury-prone.

Barca may feel they can keep Keita fit and therefore help him to reinvigorate his career over in Spain. However, this is unlikely as Liverpool have done all they can to maintain Keita’s fitness too.

Barca could be put off the 50-cap international after Jamie Redknapp’s recent assessment of him. During the 0-0 draw with Crystal Palace on Saturday, Keita was lucky not to be sent off after picking up an early yellow card and then committing a couple of fouls.

The referee was lenient and this allowed Jurgen Klopp to replace Keita with Harvey Elliott at the break. This is exactly what Redknapp expected.

The pundit said on Sky Sports: “Keita’s been booked, I’d be surprised if he starts the second half. He’s going to get sent off. Because he’s erratic, it’s summed up his Liverpool career, and I think they will probably bring on Harvey Elliott.”

Meanwhile, a second source has confirmed Liverpool are in the mix to capture a classy Italy star.

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