Guinea star Ibrahima Traore has explained how a conversation between him and Naby Keita helped refocus the RB Leipzig star’s mindset in order to thrash out his dream move to Liverpool.
The all-action midfielder became embroiled in a bust-up with his teammates after a bad challenge on Diego Demme during pre-season training, with some claiming it as evidence that his frustrations over Leipzig’s refusal to do a deal with Liverpool had boiled over.
Liverpool eventually snared the 22-year-old when they confirmed that Keita would be moving to Anfield in the summer of 2018 for a club-record fee, believed to be over £50m.
And Guinea skipper Traore has revealed how he told his international colleague that he would eventually be able to secure his move to Anfield if he knuckled down.
Naby Keita didn’t ask once about Champions league – he wants to be part of the club
Speaking to the BBC, Traore said: “He’s fantastic, he’s a really really good player.
“Everything that has been said about him is true. I have no concern about him because I think he is going to do great [at Liverpool].
“We have a really good relationship, I called Naby during pre-season because I heard he had some issues in Leipzig with some of the players and I know he wasn’t happy with the situation because he wanted to move to Liverpool.
“I told him: ‘This not good what you are doing because you are still a Leipzig player.
“‘I understand the situation is not easy, but look what has to happen will happen.
Klopp inundated with Naby Keita congratulations after signing ‘player of the league’
“‘You will go to Liverpool, if it’s not this year, it will be next year. You will go to Liverpool, but in the meantime you have to concentrate and you have to train with Leipzig because this is your team.
“‘If they say you don’t go, you don’t go [this year] but you will go to Liverpool because they have shown that they want you.’
“We talked for a long time and he said: ‘Yes, you’re right, I still have to play a season here, so I still have to play good here.'”
Keita has lit up the Bundesliga since joining Leipzig in the summer of 2016, and the midfielder’s talents have previously been described as a mix between Andres Iniesta and N’Golo Kante .
Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp revealed how he had been inundated with messages of congratulations after the signing of Keita was confirmed in August, and Traore thinks his compatriot has made the right choice.
“He’s a good guy and a quiet guy who won’t get lost,” he added.
“Liverpool is a super team and I think it is the right move he has made.”