Naby Keita has lifted the lid on how the opportunity to play under Jurgen Klopp ensured he turned down interest from both Bayern Munich and Barcelona last summer to sign for Liverpool.
The box-to-box midfielder agreed to link up with the Anfield outfit last year, but only officially completed his £52m switch to Merseyside this summer.
His quick rise to prominence for both Red Bull Salzburg and RB Leipzig ensured he attracted interest from Europe’s powerhouses at the conclusion of the 2016/17 season, a campaign which caught the eyes of onlookers after a return of eight goals and eight assists.
However, despite Bayern and Barcelona‘s interest – which Keita confirmed while speaking to the Liverpool Echo – the midfielder had only one destination in mind after holding discussions with Klopp.
“It’s true to say that there were other teams involved like the ones you mentioned,” he s
“But a big part of my decision was the role of the coach. We had good conversations a year ago. The words he spoke to me about this project really convinced me.
“I could see how the club was developing. I saw how the team was evolving and throughout last season I really keen to get here, especially having seen how well they were doing.
“We have got quality in the midfield and hopefully I can add to that quality and contribute in my own way. I have watched a lot of Premier League football and from being here I know we have got enough quality in our squad.
“It is all about having the mindset and the desire to want it enough and to fight for it enough. That desire and belief goes a long way.”
The 23-year-old also revealed how inside information from former teammate, and friend, Sadio Mane was key to his final decision.
He added: “I spoke at length with Sadio. He told me what a great club this was and how the team had great potential.”
“Sadio is like a brother to me. We had nine months together at Salzburg and built up a good rapport. We have been great friends since that time. We keep in constant contact.”