On the field Newcastle United and Liverpool are battling for a Europa League place next season, maybe even Champions League qualification, and off it they’re reportedly fighting for a Barcelona star. According to the Metro, the Magpies and the Reds are both interested in Barca midfielder Seydou Keita who is set to leave the La Liga champions in the summer. However, given Keita’s age, would Newcastle really change their transfer policy to land the 32-year-old?
My initial thoughts are that this rumour is a non-starter, as far as Newcastle are concerned anyway. Alan Pardew has repeatedly stated that Newcastle are not willing to sign anyone over the age of 26 as Mike Ashley wants there to be a sell-on value for any player that they purchase, something that Keita wouldn’t offer. Available for £5 million with wages of £80,000-a-week, the Mali international just doesn’t offer any sort of long-term options and Newcastle wouldn’t be able to recoup any of the cash in the future.
However, there is no secret that Newcastle are keen on African players. Newcastle already have Senegalese duo Demba Ba and Papiss Cisse in their ranks, in addition to Ivorian Cheik Tiote, so Mali midfielder Keita would become part of a quartet. But then you have to take into account there’s another African Cup of Nations tournament next year and then the next one will take place two years later, so Keita would be away for two tournaments over the next three years, which is hardly ideal considering how important the aforementioned trio are to the Toon.
Liverpool could be a more likely destination for Keita, whose contract with Barcelona runs until 2014, as the Reds might well want some international experience in the middle of park to complement the youthful British side that Kenny Dalglish is putting together. Liverpool are thought to have been tracking the player for a number of months and did even consider making a bid in January. Again, like with Newcastle, the signature would be going against Liverpool’s apparent transfer policy, though.
Having played over 100 times in La Liga for Barcelona and earned 70 caps for Mali, there’s no doubting that Seydou Keita is a very good player. However, I think the only time Newcastle would have bought the midfielder was when he left Lens for Sevilla in 2007 and the Magpies will now be looking for a younger model. As for Liverpool, well then maybe a move to Anfield has more legs, which will be going for the 32-year-old as he comes to the end of his career.