Keita Balde Diao
Keita Balde Diao

Keita Balde Diao's agent has revealed that Lazio rejected Liverpool's £16m bid for the striker during the summer transfer window.

The 19-year-old was keen on making a switch to the Premier League this summer. The Merseyside club and their arch rivals Manchester United were considering a move in signing the Spanish-born Senegalese striker.

However, no deal took place as Diao continued with his current employers. The striker's agent Anglo Cascella says Liverpool were not the only club interested in his services as Juventus also saw their approach being turned down by Lazio.

"Liverpool and Juventus offered a sum of 20 million euros (£16m) for Keita last summer, but Lazio always rejected their offers," Sky Sports reported Cascella as saying.

Lazio signed Diao from Barcelona's famous academy in 2011. The striker came up through the ranks of the Serie A outfit's youth setup before breaking into the first team last season. He scored six goals in 33 matches played in all competitions.

His form had seen him attract interest from top clubs across Europe as Liverpool, Juventus and United were all after his services.

The Reds had allowed their star striker Luis Suarez join Barcelona in July. Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers was in the market for a striker and was looking to bring Diao to Anfield.

However, failure to sign the teenager saw the Northern Irishman shift his focus on Mario Balotelli as the Italian international was signed on a £16m deal from AC Milan last month. Daniel Sturridge picked up a thigh injury during international break and the former Manchester City man will lead Liverpool's attack for the next three weeks in Sturridge's absence.

Meanwhile, Liverpool U21 coach Michael Beale believes his side will benefit from training with first team players like Adam Lallana and Balotelli during the international break. The youngsters were asked to train with the first team during the last two weeks.

"To get the chance to train with players like Adam Lallana and Balotelli has been fantastic," Beale told Liverpool's official website.

"It's been a fantastic period for the boys as some of them have been away on international duty, and the ones that haven't been away have been lucky enough to have trained with the first-team squad at Melwood, so that has been a great experience for them," he added.