After Neymar, Virgil van Dijk and Philippe Coutinho, Naby Keita has been one of the most talked about players this summer. Liverpool have had three bids rejected, as RB Leipzig remain defiant that they will not allow one of their best players depart this summer, as they embark on their first season in the Champions League.
However, Reds fans have been given renewed hope that Keita can be attained next summer due to a release clause coming into effect, and RB Leipzig's sporting director Ralf Rangnick has admitted that it will be difficult to keep the star midfielder.
Rangnick told German newspaper Bild: "Next season Naby theoretically has the option to go. I’m assuming that he will play a strong season, even in the Champions League. And then there will be big clubs that are interested in him. Accordingly, it will probably be difficult to keep him."
Keita's release clause, which only becomes effective in the summer of 2018, allows him to be bought for €50m - substantially less than Liverpool were willing to offer this summer.
Rangnick continued: "I’m not sure we can change it [the clause]. We always said, if players develop faster than our club, then it will also be that a player leaves us. It’s important that Naby is still playing this season"
Liverpool's plan had been to secure Keita's signature this summer, as the Reds are likely to face more competition next season should the Guinea international continue on his current trajectory.
However, while Leipzig's stance remains to keep Keita for at least one more campaign, if Philippe Coutinho is to leave for Barcelona, then Liverpool could make one more attempt to convince the Bundesliga runners up into selling now.