Liverpool fans have been given renewed hope of RB Leipzig midfielder Naby Keita forcing a move to Merseyside this summer, after the German club's sporting director blamed 'a whole village in Guinea' for turning the 22-year-old's head with regards to a move.
In ill-advised comments while speaking at a coaching convention, Rangnick claimed that members of the player's entourage - or the aforementioned Guinean village - were telling his players what to do - a clear reference to Keita's Guinean background.
“There should be someone who points them into the right direction," he said. "The boys themselves are not the problem here. It is their surroundings. A whole village in Guinea or somebody from their entourage tells the players why they must do something right away. I can’t blame the players.”
Rangnick's comments - misguided at best and outright racist are worst - could well strengthen Keita's case for a move away from Leipzig; a city which, at 582,277 inhabitants, is roughly a third of the size of Conakry - the Guinean city in which Keita was born.
Fans on social media were quick to react to the comments:
Rangnick may have blown it today with his racist comments on Keita's people in Guinea. This could blow up big time— ShibuyaDec (@ShibuyaDec) July 26, 2017
Ralf Rangnick's frankly racist comments regarding the Naby Keita saga won't help Leipzig's cause one bit.— LFC Fans Corner (@LFCFansCorner) July 26, 2017
Leipzig sporting director made a massive PR mistake when he referred to Keita's advising "village in Guinea". This is a bridge burner.— Le Sports Fan (@LeSportsFan1) July 27, 2017
Rangnick attacking Keita's entourage by saying Keita's had his head turned by a 'whole village' in Guinea?— - (@LFC_NEW5) July 26, 2017
Racist slur, intentional or not.
The saga, as ever, continues...