Reported Liverpool target, Keita Balde Diao has no intention of signing a contract extension with Lazio and is set to leave the club this summer. According to La Gazzetta Dello Sport (h/t Football-Italia), the young Senegal attacker has opted to not stay with Lazio after several rows with the club. After a brief spell out of the team, he is now back for the club and has found his touch after his time with Senegal at the recently concluded Africa Cup of Nations Tournament.
After his arrival from The AFCON tournament, news emerged that the player had refused a call-up to the Lazio squad for Coppa Italia fixture with Inter. It was told that manager Simone Inzaghi was infuriated by his behaviour. However, officially his absence was attributed to flight problems as the Senegalese International had been competing in the Africa Cup of Nations.
The report, though, is believed to be just a cover. This might very well be the reason as to why the player and the club have fallen out of favour with each other.
This is not the first time that the player has courted controversy. During his days at Barcelona youth team, he played a prank on one of his team-mates by placing ice cubes on the bed. This did not go down well with the club and they promptly loaned him out to satellite club UE Cornella. The loan move meant that UE Cornella held the right to a fraction of Keita’s playing rights. Eventually, Keita refused a return to Barcelona and attracted interest from a list of top clubs including Real Madrid and Manchester United, before joining Lazio in the summer of 2011 for a fee of €300,000.
Keita has scored 4 goals and assisted 2 this season for Lazio in the league and has appeared 17 times for the club, aggregating 1075 minutes on the pitch. Reports dating back to September 2013, claimed that Liverpool were watching the youngster and were considering a move. Now with Keita having decided to depart Lazio, this might be the perfect time for Liverpool to snatch the Senegalese attacker away from Italy. With his contract expiring in the summer of 2018, there will only be one year left in his contract come summer of 2017 and hence the negotiation may very well work in Liverpool’s way.
With Klopp searching for options to bolster his attack, a young Keita Balde might serve his cause. The only concern is his troubled past, but that may eventually stop when time flies by.
If signed, it might turn out to be a chance well taken by The Reds.