RB Leipzig CEO Oliver Mintzlaff has said Liverpool won a race against Barcelona to sign aby Keita, adding that Barca “didn’t try as hard” to get him.
Speaking to Sport Bild, Mintzlaff said the efforts of Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp had helped secure the deal.
Asked whether Klopp’s determination had been key, he added: “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 added: “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],” he said.
“This was not lip service — it was set in stone. Had we released Keita, other players might have come up with a similar idea.”
Sweden international Emil Forsberg was also linked with a move to AC Milan in the last transfer window, while Germany forward Timo Werner is expected to be in demand next summer.
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