Lazio have rejected a €20 million from Liverpool for their 19 year-old prodigy Keita Balde Diao, reports from Forza Italian Football have stated. The Spanish striker is on the radar of clubs like Juventus and Manchester United as well, after impressing with his performances in Serie A last year.
A product of the La Masia academy in Barcelona, Keita was sent on loan to Spain’s Tercera Division team UE Cornelia, where he scored 47 goals in a season. Turning down a chance to return to the Nou Camp, he chose instead to join Lazio for a fee of €300,000. After spending three years with the Youth System, he broke into the first team last season and scored 5 goals in 23 league appearances.
Lazio are said to have valued Keita at €30 million, but whether Liverpool are willing to cough up that kind of money for a player who is relatively unproven at the highest level remains to be seen. Brendan Rodgers has already signed two strikers in Rickie Lambert and Divock Origi this summer but still feels there is room for one more, after the departure of last season’s top scorer Luis Suarez to Barcelona. The Reds have qualified for the Champions League for the first time since 2009 and squad depth is imperative for them to be able to last the season and to challenge on all fronts.