Liverpool midfielder Naby Keita is reportedly one of Atletico Madrid manager Diego Simeone’s “great wishes” this summer.
The Guinea international moved to Anfield from RB Leipzig in the summer of 2018 for £54million, but has failed to live up to the hype he arrived with.
He’s suffered from a number of injury problems, but even when fit, Jurgen Klopp has – more often than not – left him out of his starting lineup.
Keita hasn’t started back-to-back Premier League games since the opening four games of the season.
And now Fichajes (via the Daily Star) report that Atletico have identified him as a summer transfer target.
Simeone is thought to be a big fan and the report suggests the 26-year-old will be his “first move” come the end of the season.
Atletico currently sit four points clear of Barcelona with two games left in La Liga and are keen to strengthen their squad to build again this summer.
Keita could be a replacement for Lucas Torreira, who is set to return to Arsenal at the end of his loan spell, while there is also doubt over the future of Mexico international Hector Herrera.
Keita has started just nine times all season for the Reds, his last appearance coming in the Champions League quarter-final first leg tie against Real Madrid, where he was hauled off three minutes before half-time having failed to make an impact.
And Klopp has sympathised with Keita, insisting “it is not easy” for the player, who is behind the likes of Jordan Henderson, Fabinho, Thiago Alcanara, Georginio Wijnaldum and Curtis Jones in the midfield pecking order at Anfield.
He said: “I don’t have to be convinced, to be honest, but it is about showing up in these situations. Ox had really good moments, he trains good in the moment, I have to say, really well and that’s really good.
“These situations are not easy for the boys, not only him but for Naby it is not easy, for Shaq not easy and for some other players not easy.”