Naby Keita has revealed that he spoke with Arsene Wenger before deciding to move to RB Leipzig because of their sporting director who ‘treated him like a son.’

Courted by a number of top clubs in the Premier League, only Arsene Wenger took the time to call the player, something he often does. It seems that wasn’t enough to overcome the bond that was already there between Keita and RBL’s sporting director, Ralf Rangnick, from their time at RB Salzburg. The player also admitted he wasn’t ready for a move to a club like Arsenal.

“I only had contact with Arsene Wenger, who spoke French to me,” Keita said.

Guinea's midfielder Naby Keita poses ahead of the 2015 African Cup of Nations group D football match between Ivory Coast and Guinea in Malabo on January 20, 2015. AFP PHOTO / ISSOUF SANOGO
Guinea’s midfielder Naby Keita poses ahead of the 2015 African Cup of Nations group D football match between Ivory Coast and Guinea in Malabo on January 20, 2015. AFP PHOTO / ISSOUF SANOGO

“Ralf has treated me like a son. He came to France in 2014 to sign me for Salzburg and I trust him entirely,” Keita added. “I joined RB because it is an exciting club with great potential. I didn’t want to move to a big Champions League club immediately. It’s still too early.”

A 21-year-old midfielder, the news comes as a bit of a surprise as you would think the last thing that Wenger should be looking for in this window is another midfielder.

Then you remember that this is Arsene Wenger and midfielders are his crack.

It seems like Keita could well be a name to keep an eye on for future windows when he does feel like he’s ready for that move to a ‘big Champions League club’ and it’s refreshing to see a young player make sensible decisions about his career that aren’t just based on money and glamour.

It’s not like he lacks for ambition, continuing, “I have not played in a competitive match for RB. Why should I already talk about leaving? I do hope that in two, three years I will be on a level to be able to play for one of the big clubs.

“Right now, I don’t busy myself with it, because my focus is on RB and Bundesliga. But someday, and that is my big goal, I want to be the best African footballer.”

Moving for €15m in this window, one can only imagine how much he’ll cost in two or three years.

Previous articleDortmund want Toprak but not til next summer
Next articleMustafi transfer ‘pending announcement’ says report in Spain but…
Writer. Feminist. Dreamer. Gooner. Owner of DailyCannon.com, writing about Arsenal since 2008. Sometimes found in the Guardian, Vice.com & elsewhere talking queer issues, politics & football. If in doubt, assume sarcasm.