Liverpool could have to spend as much as £70 million to prise Naby Keïta from RB Leipzig this summer

Liverpool face a lengthy battle to sign key target Naby Keïta from RB Leipzig this summer with a £70 million fee touted for the Reds to sign the midfielder.

Liverpool could have to spend as much as £70 million to prise Naby Keïta from RB Leipzig this summer
(Picture: Getty Images - Boris Streubel/Bundesliga)

Liverpool will need to break their transfer record for the second time this summer but also smash the Bundesliga's record for a fee if they are to sign RB Leipzig's Naby Keïta.

The midfielder is Jürgen Klopp's first-choice target after signing Mohamed Salah and with the pursuit of centre-back Virgil van Dijk having stalled after the Reds were forced into issuing an embarrassing public apology for allegedly tapping up the player.

But they face a fight to sign Keïta too, with Leipzig determined not to lose the 22-year-old and having proved stubborn negotiators so far.

Liverpool had initially hoped to sign Keïta for less than £50 million, still a club transfer record, but a fee of £70 million has now been touted - although Leipzig's initial stance had been that the Guinean would not be for sale at any price.

Reports in Germany over the weekend indicated that a £70 million fee, which would make him the fourth most expensive player ever, would entice the German outfit into business.

But it might not be just as simple as that, even though it would make him the second most expensive Premier League import behind only £89 million Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba.

It would also surpass the £55 million fee Manchester City paid Wolfsburg for playmaker Kevin De Bruyne in 2015, the current most expensive deal involving a Bundesliga club.

Leipzig determined not to lose key player

Leipzig only signed Keïta for £12.75 million last summer when he joined from sister club RB Salzburg and rapidly became a crucial figure for Die Bullen.

He scored eight goals and laid on seven assists in 31 Bundesliga appearances as Leipzig finished second in their maiden top-flight campaign, qualifying directly for the Champions League group stages.

It is though that Keïta - who is contracted to RB Leipzig until 2020 - is open to exploring his options this summer despite the success of Ralph Hasenhüttl's side. 

Yet the club's sporting director, Ralf Rangnick, has consistently declared that the club do not want to sell their key assets, with Keïta's team-mate Emil Forsberg keen to leave the club.

Liverpool are aware that there is a release clause in Keïta's contract, worth £48 million, that only comes into effect in the summer of 2018 - but the Reds are keen to secure a deal ahead of the 2017-18 campaign.

The dynamic box-to-box midfielder, who can also play as a No.6 or as a more advanced attacking midfielder, is regarded as the type of player that can drastically bolster Liverpool's XI for European football.

But Leipzig, who are in an excellent standing on and off-the-pitch, view Keïta as crucial to their own future and the saga promises to last the summer.

Liverpool have already added England youngster Dominic Solanke, who won the U20 World Cup earlier this month, from Chelsea with a fee of compensation for the striker likely to be decided by a tribunal.

In addition, the club confirmed the signing of winger Mohamed Salah from AS Roma for a club-record fee last week - the Egyptian an example of Liverpool's desire to recruit proven quality in order to improve the starting eleven after finishing fourth last term.

Liverpool FC