Ralf Rangnick forced to explain 'village' comment about Liverpool target Naby Keita

The RB Leipzig sporting director implied the player's head had been turned by 'a whole village in Guinea', Keita's home country

Ralf Rangnick has attempted to explain his comments about those advising RB Leipzig midfielder Naby Keita, having claimed that the Liverpool transfer target had been influenced by “a whole village in Guinea”.

Rangnick, Leipzig’s sporting director, made the claim while reiterating that the Bundesliga runners-up have no intention of allowing Keita to move to Anfield this summer, despite Liverpool’s protracted and high-profile pursuit of the 22-year-old.

“The boys themselves are not the problem here. It is their surroundings,” Rangick said on Tuesday, while speaking at a coaching convention in Bochum.

“A whole village in Guinea or somebody from their entourage tells the players why they must do something right away. I can’t blame the players.”

Rangnick was criticised for his reference to “a village in Guinea”, particularly by journalists in Keita’s native country, and has now attempted to clarify what he meant by the remark.

“I know Naby from the very first day when he came to Salzburg,” Rangnick said, in quotes picked up by The Guardian. “We therefore have a very close relationship, also to his adviser. We are in a trusting exchange. That is exactly what I said in my lecture in Bochum.

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“Behind many players with an African background, and I’ve met a lot of them, there is a clan and sometimes a whole village, that lives from the help of one football player. And it’s the case that there are people behind Naby, that demand his transfer.”

Rangnick added: “Believe me, my knowledge in geography are good enough, to differentiate between Guinea and Africa.”

Liverpool have seen two bids rejected for Keita and while The Independent understands that a third bid is yet to be turned down, Leipzig have shown little sign of changing their position.

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