Real Madrid have reportedly 'considered' making an audacious £96m offer to Liverpool to snatch Naby Keita from the Merseysiders before the midfielder ever steps foot on the Anfield turf.
After a lengthy transfer saga between RB Leipzig and the Reds last summer a deal was finally agreed which will see the Guinea international officially move to Liverpool on July 1, for a final fee of £52.75m.
The 23-year-old attracted interest from across Europe after a stunning debut season in the Bundesliga in 2016, but Real Madrid's late arrival at the party came just as Liverpool were finalising the terms of the agreement last year.
In response to missing out, Bleacher Report have claimed the Champions League finalists have "considered" tabling a sensational offer of £96m to Liverpool, before Keita even has a chance to pack his bags and join the Premier League club.
The Spanish giants' offer would be close to double of what the Reds will hand to Leipzig for the midfielder, and whilst it is unknown whether the news has made it to the ears of Liverpool's hierarchy, one source insisted it would be a waste of Real's time.
"There is no way Liverpool would agree to sell him before he has played a game," the Anfield insider said.
Whilst Liverpool have been susceptible to losing a host of stars to La Liga in recent years, there are very few concerns that Keita will bypass Anfield all together as he is expected to link up with his new teammates for pre-season training once his move is official.
The midfielder will add much needed dynamism to the Reds' midfield brigade - which is currently wiped out with injury - and the 23-year-old could be set to meet his new team sooner then he thought after Jurgen Klopp invited him to the Champions League final.
Naby Keita will play his next game for Liverpool and there's absolutely nothing Real Madrid can do about it.— Efraín Javier (@EfrainJDelgado) May 13, 2018
Liverpool will face Real Madrid in Kiev on May 26 and Klopp said: “Bringing [Keita] in the dining room and saying: ‘Boys, he will play for you next season!’ doesn’t really make any sense. It's not my first problem, but I will think about it.
“I have not been thinking about things like this, but if Naby is reading this and he wants to come with us to the final, he is invited!
"Hopefully, Naby will have a big effect on the team immediately because of his quality,” he added.