Chelsea are keeping close tabs on Naby Keita’s contract situation at Liverpool ahead of a potential move for the midfielder who is out of contract in the summer, according to 90min.
The Lowdown: Chelsea monitoring Keita
The Blues are one of a number of clubs including Arsenal and Tottenham, who have an eye on the midfielder’s contract situation at Anfield, with the Guinean set to be without a club in the summer.
The £48m signing from RB Leipzig in 2018 is yet to feature for the Reds’ this season due to a hamstring injury suffered in pre-season, a frustrating predicament for Jurgen Klopp and his man who played 40 games in all competitions for the German.
The Latest: Keita unhappy at Anfield
It’s thought that his agents made a ‘concerted’ push to tie him down to a new deal at Anfield before the end of the summer transfer window but when that became clear that it was unlikely to happen, it was made known that he wasn’t happy with the situation.
The report suggests that not much has changed in terms of Keita’s stance on the matter, with his representatives well aware of intesred from the Premier League and abroad.
Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur are among the other teams mooted with interest.
The Verdict: Problem waiting to happen
With the Blues’ plethora of central midfield options, adding the injury-prone Keita – who journalist Josh Williams once labelled a “terrible liability” – to the list wouldn’t be wise, even on a free transfer.
Graham Potter boasts Jorginho, Mateo Kovacic, Conor Gallagher, Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Carney Chukwuemeka in central midfield roles, as well as N’Golo Kante and Denis Zakaria whose futures are uncertain.
Comparing the Liverpool flop with Kovacic and Loftus-Cheek last season, it’s hard to understand why there would be interest in bringing him to Stamford Bridge.
According to Squawka, in 23 Premier League games last season compared to the Croatian’s 25, Keita only managed 979 touches compared to 1460 with a lower successful pass accuracy than the current Chelsea man with 86% pass accuracy compared to 88.77% pass accuracy, only mustering up 15 chances created compared to 27, the productivity of the Guinean on the ball compared to his counterpart is a long way behind.
He also doesn’t match up to the Englishman’s defensive output last season, having a ground duel success of 56% compared to 58.73% in 64 less duels contested, highlighting he wouldn’t even be an improvement to sure up the midfield with him losing more battles than the 26-year-old.
The £22.5m-valued Kop asset was once touted to be worth £58m at the time of his move to Merseyside, as injuries begin to take his toll on him – missing a staggering total of 79 games for the Anfield outfit since his arrival – the Blues want to make sure they aren’t stuck with an injury prone backup on the wage budget with his current contract in the North-West seeing him take home £130k-per-week.