Naby Keita is currently whiling away the days at RB Liepzig ahead of his imminent move to Liverpool, which is ear-marked to go through on July 1st, 2018.
Since the €75million deal was struck between the two clubs in August, Keita has plateaued ever so slightly so, in his dual role as both an ex-Reds midfielder and Sky Sports’ in-house Bundesliga shaman, Danny Murphy was afforded the opportunity to air his reservations.
Appearing on The Debate, Murphy offered the following observations on Keita and the quandary his impending move to Anfield has created (via Football365):
I’m not sure (on Keita), from what I’ve seen.
Subconsciously you can look like you’ve downed tools when you’re protecting yourself a little bit, I wouldn’t judge him on that. I don’t know him well enough to say that.
What I would say is he’s obviously very athletic, got a lot of qualities – a bit like Jordan Henderson has. Professional, good athlete, does his job really, really well.
But he isn’t creative enough if you want to challenge for the title and the Champions League. Someone like Gerrard, Souness, Alonso, Mascherano – these type of players.
Ignoring the thinly-veiled stereotyping, that’s just twaddle. Complete and utter.
Not only has Murphy quite obviously never seen Keita play, it sounds like he’s never seen Graeme Souness or Javier Mascherano play either. “Creative”? We honestly can’t think of an adjective less suitable to describe either.
Souness spent a career sating his perverse fetish for wounding lesser mortals and Mascherano suffers sudden-onset altitude sickness every time he crosses the half-way line.
Pies have got nothing against Murphy (other than the fact his joyless commentary delivery is somewhere akin to a man telling his wife about the neighbour’s dog fouling the grass verge outside for the umpteenth time) but why is he being tasked with scrutinising the strengths and weaknesses of a player he’s entirely unfamiliar with under the guise of legitimate in-depth analysis?
The problem, as ever, lies with Sky Sports and their staunch commitment to noise over nous.