Keita Balde Diao is a versatile 18-year-old forward currently plying his trade in Serie A with Lazio who he joined in 2011 for the amazing fee of just €300,000.
He started his youth career with Barcelona in 2004, progressing through the ranks at the Spanish club before he joined Cornelia after a rather interesting turn of circumstances.
Diao was effectively booted out of the Barcelona youth system, sent on loan to the Spanish club after he put ice cubs in the bed of a teammate during a youth team tournament in Qatar in 2012.
He thrived at Cornelia, smashing in 47 goals for their youth team in one season which grabbed the attention of several top sides before he eventually moved onto Lazio after turning down the chance to return to Barcelona.
He’s made his first senior appearances for Lazio this season in Serie A and the Europa League and Liverpool clearly see something they like in him, with reports that they are sending scouts to Italy to monitor his progress.
He’d certainly be a quality addition to the current Liverpool squad and the move would be appealing because Brendan Rodgers has not hidden his younger players, throwing them into the first team when he feels they’re ready.
There are possible complications with regards to a deal this winter or next summer because Diao is on a long and large contract with Lazio, which doesn’t expire until the summer of 2017.
Considering some of the attacking talent in Liverpool’s youth and reserve ranks, it may be a needless investment if it takes a large fee to ensure that Diao can move to Anfield.
The likes of Luis Alberto, Raheem Sterling, Jordon Ibe and even Suso, not even at the club, are more refined players, arguably more ready to step into the Liverpool first team.
Those players are all struggling for regular appearances which means it’d be exactly the same for Diao and he’d certainly have to be prepared for a lot of hard work and discipline to get a chance at the club.
The benefit for Liverpool in having people watching the teenager is that they can report back on a regular basis, while monitoring the interest from other clubs.
That allows Brendan Rodgers and the club in general to make a better assessment of the player they’d be getting and the value involved of how much it would take to sign him. They could do much worse.
image: © mariosp