The agent of Keita Balde Diao claims that both Liverpool and Juventus attempted to sign the Lazio striker this summer.
Born in Spain to Senegalese parents, Keita, 19, was brought up through Barcelona’s famed La Masia before moving on to the Serie A club in the summer of 2011, despite reported interest from the likes of Manchester United and Real Madrid.
Establishing himself as a regular in the first-team last season, with six goals in 33 total appearances, a bid of around £24 million was said to be required in order to secure the promising front man’s signature, but agent Anglo Cascella has revealed that both teams made offers closer to £16 million.
‘Liverpool and Juventus offered a sum of €20 million for Keita last summer, but Lazio always rejected their offers,’ he told Spanish news outlet EFE.
Keita is currently awaiting clearance to represent Spain at the international level, but several delays with the paperwork due to his African heritage have left both the teenager and Cascella frustrated, amid reports that the Italian Football Federation are courting his services for the future.
‘Keita is really disappointed because he sees himself as Spanish and he doesn't understand these delays,’ Cascella added.
‘He's frustrated not to be able to defend the colours of his country.’
Liverpool might have missed out on Keita this summer, but Brendan Rodgers did at least sign another of Europe's brightest forward prospects for a much lower sum, with the £10 million addition of Belgian marksman Divock Origi from Lille.