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RB Leipzig chief: 'Barcelona wanted Liverpool-bound Naby Keita'

Leipzig chief: 'Barcelona wanted Keita'
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RB Leipzig chief executive Oliver Mintzlaff claims that Barcelona "did not try as hard as Liverpool" to land the signature of midfielder Naby Keita.

RB Leipzig chief executive Oliver Mintzlaff has revealed that Liverpool beat Barcelona to the signing of influential midfielder Naby Keita.

The Reds reached a club-record agreement with the German club for Keita, who will officially arrive at Anfield next summer for around £48m.

Leipzig were determined to hold on to the Guinea international, and have already blocked an early move in January, but in the end Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp's determination proved too much.

Asked if Klopp played a key part in the deal, Mintzlaff told Bild: "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 wanted the transfer this summer. But [Leipzig 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."

Keita has featured 15 times for Leipzig in all competitions so far this season, netting his third goal of the campaign in the 4-1 win over Monaco on Tuesday night.

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