Liverpool fans will have to wait until the summer to see Naby Keita in their club's shirt.
Liverpool fans will have to wait until the summer to see Naby Keita in their club's shirt, it has been confirmed.
It had been suggested that Keita's £55m move from Bundesliga side RB Leipzig could be brought forward to January, but the German side's CEO Oliver Mintzlaff has dismissed those claims.
The Liverpool Echo quoted Mintzlaff as saying: "Neither Naby nor his agent have made the request to leave the club in the winter. There are contracts, and they say that he will be a Liverpool employee from July 1 onwards."
Keita has scored five times in 20 appearances for Leipzig in all competitions this season.
While Liverpool would have likely seen an early arrival of Keita as a way of coping with the potential loss of Philippe Coutinho to Barcelona in January, it seems Leipzig themselves would like to get as much out of Keita before the Guinea international makes the switch to Merseyside.
Having finished runners up in their debut Bundesliga campaign last season, Leipzig currently sit fifth in the table this time round, and have dropped into the Europa League after finishing third behind Besiktas and Porto in their Champions League group.
Mintzlaff claims that he wants Keita to help Leipzig back into the Champions League he departs, saying: "It's not Naby's disposition (to save himself). Our pros have character and are ambitious.
"We want to achieve a lot, want to return to Europe and would love to again qualify for Champions League."
When Keita does join Liverpool, he will become their second most expensive signing in history, following their recent £75m deal for Southampton defender Virgil van Dijk.