Former Everton midfielder Leon Osman thinks Liverpool could be taking an 'incredible risk' by trying to sign £70m-rated midfielder Naby Keita and believes the touted fee is extortionate for a player he believes to be just a "destroyer."

Liverpool are preparing an offer for Keita, who shone in the heart of RB Leipzig's midfield last season, but Ralph Hassenhuttl's men do not want to lose their coveted Guinea international this summer and have slapped an exorbitant £70m price tag on the 22-year-old in order to ward off potential suitors.

Osman, who supported Liverpool as a child but eventually switched his allegiance to Everton, with whom he enjoyed a 13-year spell as a player, believes there is so much emphasis placed on "destroyers" such as Tottenham's Victor Wanyama and Chelsea star N'Golo Kante in England's top-flight and thinks that has led to Keita being valued so highly, even though he is still relatively inexperienced.

"With the way the Premier League is going, the top two teams, Chelsea and Tottenham, have got [Victor] Wanyama and [N'Golo] Kante winning the ball back," Osman said on BBC Radio FiveLive.

"It does seem to be a big part of the Premier League but I think to go out and pay £70m for a player who, with all due respect, is just destroying, and he [Keita] has only done one season of it, it's an incredible risk as far as I'm concerned.

"Whether Liverpool have watched him longer than that and have seen what he can do over a number of years, I don't know, but he's not been on my radar for very long with regards to watching foreign football. It's a big price tag."

Liverpool have already signed Dominic Solanke and Mohamed Salah this summer but are still attempting to push through deals for their top summer targets Keita and Virgil van Dijk. Despite publicly and privately apologising to Southampton over their pursuit of the Dutchman, the Reds still have hope of clinching a deal that could cost around £70m.

Osman's former club and Liverpool's city rivals Everton have been rather busy in the transfer market, with Henry Onyekuru, Davy Klaassen and Jordan Pickford already through the door.

Everton are expected to add to the aforementioned trio in the coming days, with the arrivals of Burnley defender Michael Keane and Malaga forward Sandro set to be confirmed early next week.

Naby Keita
Keita flourished last season as he helped secure Champions League qualification. Getty Images