Barcelona have stepped up their interest in signing Liverpool midfielder Naby Keita, according to reports.
The 28-year-old has struggled to reach the heights expected of him since making the switch to Anfield in 2018.
Admittedly his progress has been hampered by injuries this term, with Jurgen Klopp struggling for options in midfield.
Keita is now expected to leave the club this summer, with Barcelona reportedly ‘stepping up’ their pursuit of the Guinea international.
Spanish news outlet Mundo Deportivo claim that Xavi is keen to add Keita to his ranks, with the player’s contract expiring in the summer.
The news follows La Liga’s ban on Barcelona registering any new signings in the upcoming transfer window. However, Keita would be an exception if he became a free agent.
The midfielder could be a sensible addition considering the Catalan club’s financial limitations in the transfer window.
La Liga chief executive Javier Tebas slammed the club’s transfer dealings and said they would have to make cuts of around £178 million.
A whole host of first team players could be on their way out of the club in order to free up funds, including Frenkie de Jong and Raphinha.
However, Keita earns a whopping £120,000 a week at Anfield, meaning he may be forced to take a pay cut if he does join Blaugrana.
Keita could join a whole host of midfielders leaving Liverpool with Alex-Oxlade Chamberlain and James Milner also out of contract in the summer.
Their departures could pave the way for new midfield recruits, such as Borussia Dortmund midfielder Jude Bellingham.
The 19-year-old has been heavily linked with a move to Anfield following a series of glowing displays for England at the World Cup.
Klopp is said to have made him his priority target this summer, with the Reds boss allegedly a huge admirer of the player.
Meanwhile, fellow England teammate Mason Mount has also been rumoured with a move to Liverpool.
It is understood that the 24-year-old is unhappy with his wage compared to other players at Chelsea, with contract negotiations having ‘stalled’ this season.
And Liverpool have emerged as potential suitors, with Klopp keen to refresh his ageing midfield.