Napoli manager Carlo Ancelotti has admitted he attempted to sign Naby Keita while in charge at Bayern Munich.
Keita, 23, arrived at Anfield from Bundesliga side RB Leipzig for a £54m fee last summer, having agreed a deal the year before.
How did Liverpool sign Naby Keita? Five key things to know…
- Liverpool saw several bids rejected by RB Leipzig, who insisted publicly they would not be forced to sell.
- They eventually agreed a £54m deal in August 2017 that would see Keita join Liverpool the following year.
- Keita reportedly turned down Barcelona to play for Jurgen Klopp.
- But Keita has had injury troubles in his maiden campaign and has only made eight Premier League starts.
- The 23-year-old registered his first assist in the 4-3 win over Crystal Palace.
Ancelotti managed Bayern for a season-and-a-bit but was sacked in September 2017 after a crushing Champions League group-stage defeat for PSG.
Now managing at Napoli, Ancelotti has spoken of his relationship with former players and revealed his attempt to hijack the Reds’ Keita deal while still in charge at Bayern.
“I wanted to sign him at Bayern Munich and Rummenigge said I could meet him here in Naples,” Ancelotti told Corriere Dello Sport.
“He was incredible at Leipzig. In Liverpool, he has highs and lows.”
“Is Keita exactly the same player as he was at Leigzig? No.”
While playing for Leipzig, Keita earned a reputation for being a versatile and dynamic box-to-box midfielder; capable of creating goals as well as scoring them.
Keita’s time at Anfield has been soured by injury and he is yet to continue in the fine vein of form that he found in Germany and demonstrated right at the start of the season for Liverpool against West Ham.
This has not been lost on his boss Jurgen Klopp, though he remains optimistic about the 23-year-old’s future with the club.
“That is sometimes how it is,” Klopp told reporters.
“I spoke to him. Everything is fine. I am completely happy with him. Could he be a bit more confident in the games? Yes. Is he exactly the player in his best time at Leipzig? No, but he is still adapting – that is how it is.”
Keita’s injury problems continued after his start against Manchester City, though Klopp added: “It was kind of a little setback but he is a fantastic player and I am really happy to have him here. I am really looking forward to our common future.”