Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson has commended the recent club-record deal for Naby Keita, insisting that the Reds are set to land a "top, top player" in the form of RB Leipzig's highly-rated box-to-box midfielder.
Jurgen Klopp had pursued a deal for Keita for weeks following the addition of Mohamed Salah from AS Roma, although opening offers of £57m ($73.4m) and £66m were rebuffed. Following talk of a potential third bid worth £75m, it was believed that Liverpool had delayed their pursuit until next summer when the £48m release clause in the player's contract was due to become active.
However, evidently not willing to risk further competition for his services in 2018 amid reports that Barcelona were targeting Keita as a potential late alternative to Philippe Coutinho, Liverpool were willing to pay a premium on top of that aforementioned sum in order to secure his signature now.
The 22-year-old, who underwent a medical at Melwood, is said to have agreed a five-year deal and will stay in the Bundesliga for the rest of the current season. The Times believe the transfer to be worth approximately £51m in total.
Keita helped Leipzig to finish as runners-up behind Bayern Munich in their first ever season in the German top-flight following his move from Red Bull Salzburg and Die Bullen were understandably desperate not to lose the Guinea international or indeed any of their other key performers before they embark upon their maiden campaign in the Champions League.
Keita's reputation certainly precedes him and Henderson appears only too aware of the quality of player set to arrive on Merseyside in 11 months time.
"If you play for top teams, you are going to sign good players," he was quoted as saying by Sky Sports. "I have seen Naby play quite a few times and he looks a top, top player. There have been a lot of transfer rumours over the summer and thankfully we ended up doing the business.
"OK, he comes next year, but I am sure the club are delighted to get him, because he will be a real addition to the squad and will hopefully help us over the next few years."
While Keita's transfer is still a year away, Liverpool are working hard to further strengthen their squad before Thursday night's 11pm BST deadline following the respective additions of Salah, Dominic Solanke and Andrew Robertson.
As talks with Arsenal over a potential move for Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain continue and speculation regarding AS Monaco winger Thomas Lemar still abounds, the Evening Standard suggest that the club remain hopeful of completing a deal for wantaway Southampton defender Virgil van Dijk that would potentially be worth around £70m with wages comfortably exceeding £100,000-per-week.
The Saints have remained adamant that they do not want to lose the unsettled Dutchman, who has also attracted interest from Chelsea and Manchester City and was made to train on his own earlier this summer before submitting a transfer request in the hope of forcing an exit.