Liverpool-bound Naby Keita accused of 'harming' RB Leipzig with poor performances and disciplinary problems

The 22-year-old midfielder has struggled to recreate his form of last season

Friday 05 January 2018 12:15
Naby Keita has struggled to recreate the form he showed with Leipzig last season
Naby Keita has struggled to recreate the form he showed with Leipzig last season

Naby Keita has been accused of ‘harming’ RB Leipzig this season after several underwhelming performances and well-publicised disciplinary problems.

Keita, who is set to join Liverpool in a £51m deal this summer, was rated as German football’s best midfielder by the magazine Kicker last year after an excellent breakthrough campaign.

However, having struggled to recreate his 2016/17 form so far this term, the 22-year-old has tumbled down the magazine’s rankings to fifth-place and been criticised for lacking the dynamism which once characterised his game.

Keita’s discipline was also questioned earlier this season when he received three red cards in the space of just 39 days – two while playing for Leipzig, one while on international duty with Guinea.

The highly-rated midfielder encountered off-the-field problems too when he was fined €415,000 (£365,000) by a district court in November for allegedly using a forged Guinean driving license.

Speaking to Kicker on the publication of their new rankings, former Bayer Leverkusen midfielder Simon Rolfes said Keita’s struggles had adversely affected his club.

“Keita has enormous potential... [but] he has not had the same impact that he did last season,” Rolfes said. ”Too often, he has been undisciplined and has harmed his team.”

Keita has scored five goals and registered one assist in all competitions this season, having scored eight and set up eight for Leipzig last term.

Ralph Hasenhüttl’s side, who currently sit fifth in the Bundesliga, are hoping to secure a top-four finish and qualify for next season’s Champions League, having been eliminated in the group stages of the competition in December.

Speculation suggesting that Keita’s move to Liverpool could be brought forward and completed this month during the current transfer window was flatly dismissed by Leipzig earlier this week.

“Neither Naby nor his agent have made the request to leave the club in the winter,” Oliver Mintzlaff, the club’s chief executive, told Bild. “There are contracts and they say that he will be a Liverpool employee from July 1 onwards.”

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