Naby Keita not allowed to join Liverpool early, say RB Leipzig

Naby Keita
Image: Naby Keita is joining Liverpool in the summer, but Leipzig say they won't allow him to move early

Naby Keita won't be allowed to join Liverpool early ahead of his transfer to Anfield in the summer, according to RB Leipzig sporting director Ralf Rangnick.

Liverpool agreed a fee of at least £48m with the German club to sign Keita at the end of the season, but there were suggestions that they may try and persuade Leipzig to allow the midfielder to join them in January.

Naby Keita received his third red card in seven games on Wednesday
Image: Keita's discipline this season has been a concern, and he received three red cards in a seven game spell

Rangnick, though, has dismissed that idea. Speaking to Leipziger Volkszeitung, he said: "Even if we should not reach the knockout stages of the Champions League, it would make no sense to allow Naby to join Liverpool earlier.

"We want to qualify for Europe again and we need Naby for that."

Despite his obvious importance to Leipzig, Keita has had his fair share of disciplinary problems this season, both on and off the pitch.

xxx during the Bundesliga match between TSG 1899 Hoffenheim and RB Leipzig at Wirsol Rhein-Neckar-Arena on August 28, 2016 in Sinsheim, Germany.
Image: Ralf Rangnick is the sporting director at RB Leipzig, and managed the club during the 2015-16 season

He has been sent off three times already - twice for his club and once for Guinea, his international side - and is also appealing a six-figure fine that he was ordered to pay by a court for using a forged driver's license.

Speaking about Keita's fine, Rangnick said: "We will, of course, support Naby."

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He also had praise for the 22-year-old, saying: "Naby's easy-going. It's hard not to get on well with him. Naby trains well, plays well, is always on time. He's popular in the team."

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