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Dublin: 2 °C Tuesday 22 January, 2019

Liverpool 'very lucky' to be getting €54 million Leipzig man

Sadio Mane is looking forward to welcoming Naby Keita to Anfield.

Naby Keita (file pic).
Naby Keita (file pic).
Image: DPA/PA Images

LIVERPOOL CAN CONSIDER themselves “very lucky” to have won the race for Naby Keita’s signature, says Sadio Mane.

The Reds have seen their persistence rewarded in a protracted chase, with a deal finally agreed for a long-standing target.

Jurgen Klopp had tried to put a transfer in place over the summer, but was ultimately forced to accept a club record £48 million (€54m) agreement for 2018.

Mane believes that represents good business for Liverpool, with a current Reds star looking forward to welcoming a familiar face to Anfield from RB Leipzig.

He told LFC TV: “He’s a friend for me. Even not a friend, he’s like a brother. Because we keep in touch all the time, talking.

“He asks me ‘how is the club?’ and I tell him ‘unbelievable’.

“He knows the team and the club, and he knows how Liverpool is.

“We’re lucky to have him. He’s an unbelievable player.”

Mane is reluctant to speculate on what Liverpool supporters can expect from Keita, merely stating: “You will see!”

He is, however, hoping to strike up a productive professional relationship with a player he has previously spent time with at Red Bull Salzburg.

“It just came normally because we speak the same language and we’re close neighbours, Guinea and Senegal. We were so close,” Mane added on his friendship with Keita.

So when it came, we lived together in the same area of Salzburg. We were always together – sometimes he came to my house, I went to his house.

“We even didn’t speak German but we had someone who took care of us.

“But I was better than him because I was there one year before him!”

Keita’s move to Liverpool will be officially completed on July 1, 2018.

The £48m fee agreed is merely to trigger his release clause, with the Reds also committed to paying premiums on top of that relating to RB Leipzig’s performance in the 2017-18 campaign — with qualification for European competition set to bump up the overall cost of the transfer.

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