Monday’s edition of Tuttosport brought Southampton into the Keita Baldé Diao drama. With only a year left on his Lazio contract, the Spanish born forward has knocked back all attempts to renew his deal.
Keita’s relationship with Lazio has pretty much broken down, and his insistence on a move within Italy annoyed club president Claudio Lotito. With offers from elsewhere, Lotito warned Keita he could spend next season on the bench or in the stands if he planned to stay around and leave on a free transfer.
Since then Juventus have come into the picture, and that’s the club Keita wants. Tuttosport claim Keita is set on the Turin club, and then add ‘despite the courtship of Monaco and Southampton’.
Lazio want €30m, but Juventus has so far offered only €15m plus bonuses which could take the deal to €20m. Keita scored 16 goals and added 3 assists in around 30 Serie A appearances last season, a third of them as a substitute. Given that he didn’t always play as a striker, it’s an impressive return for the 22 year old.
Southampton interest is understandable on that account, but they surely know Keita wants to remain in Italian football. Even if he wasn’t able to do that, and Southampton negotiate a deal, it’s likely he’d still be looking towards Italy for a return, such is how comfortable he feels there.