Suspended! Liverpool flop Keita is the WORST signing of the season

Tom Weber
Tom Weber
  • Updated: 16 Apr 2024 12:57 BST
  • 5 min read
Naby Keita, Werder Bremen, 2023/24

Naby Keita's career has been going downhill ever since he left RB Leipzig.

In 2018, the Guinean was regarded as one of the Bundesliga's best midfielders, prompting Liverpool to shell out an eye-watering €60 million to acquire his services. A player who had been in the Red Bull system for several years, it was expected that Keita would fit Jurgen Klopp's pressing system like a glove.

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Injuries, however, completely ruined Keita's time at Anfield. Fitness issues led to frequent underperformance and Keita was ultimately axed in the summer of 2023 as one Klopp's worst-ever flop signing. His Liverpool contract was not extended and he departed England.

READ MORE: Bad news, Liverpool & Chelsea! RB Leipzig to BREAK the transfer market

In a surprising turn of events, the 29-year-old returned to the Bundesliga, citing a desire to get back into a familiar environment where he previously played his best football. The team he joined, however, was completely unexpected: Werder Bremen.

This fallen giant of German football had only been promoted back to the top flight two seasons earlier and was still struggling to get on an even keel financially. Signing someone of Keita's pedigree - even on a free transfer - required significant financial sacrifices. It's fair to say, his move has been an unmitigated disaster.

Naby Keita
© IMAGO - Naby Keita

Keita goes AWOL

It is believed that Keita is one of, if not the, highest earners at Bremen. Despite this, he has rarely been seen on the hallowed pitch of the Weserstadion.

Fitness issues have continued to plague the veteran midfielder and since joining Werder last summer, he has been sidelined with six different ailments. To date, Keita has played 106 minutes of competitive football spread across five appearances for his new employers.

At the weekend, however, things were taken to a new level. Keita was accused of having gone AWOL by Bremen chief Clemens Fritz prior to Werder's title-deciding 5-0 shellacking at the hands of champions Bayer Leverkusen.

READ MORE: It's official - Florian Wirtz deserves Ballon d'Or consideration

Naby Keita's appearances for Werder Bremen

FC Koln (h)September 23, 202312-1 win
SV Darmstadt (a)October 1, 2023214-2 loss
TSG Hoffenheim (h)October 7, 2023593-2 loss
Union Berlin (a)March 16, 202442-1 loss
VfL WolfsburgMarch 30, 2024222-0 loss

The Bremen legend claimed that Keita had decided not to travel with the team after being informed by head coach Ole Werner that he would not be starting against Xabi Alonso's side.

"After finding out yesterday that he wasn't in the starting XI, Naby decided not to come with us to the ground and instead chose to travel home. We'll talk to him and his advisor tomorrow about the consequences and the way forward," Fritz said ahead of the game.

A visibly angry Werner said of the situation after the loss: “The incident says it all, I don’t have to say much more. Everyone can form their own opinion, I formed mine. Of course, this has nothing to do with team sports.” It is clear that Keita's lack of action for Bremen hasn't been purely down to fitness.

Current ETV
Player image Naby Keïta
Naby Keïta

M (C), DM (L)

SV Werder Bremen logo

SV Werder Bremen

Naby Keïta
Naby Keïta

M (C), DM (L)

SV Werder Bremen

SV Werder Bremen


ETV Range

€5.4M - €9M

This prompted a response from Keita on Instagram, insisting that he does not have disciplinary issues. "Since the first day I signed for this great club, I have always worked selflessly and professionally," the midfielder wrote. "My only desire has always been to help the club and bring joy to the many fans, especially at a time when the results are not as we would like them to be."

"Since the beginning of my career, wherever I've been, I've never had problems with discipline and I've always tried to be a role model. So I won't accept anybody tarnishing that image. To the fans: I want you to know that I fight every training session to make you happy every weekend. Training, giving everything, these are the limits of my strength. Allez, Werder!"

On Tuesday, Bremen announced that Keita had been suspended until the end of the season and hit with a hefty fine. It is quite a feat considering that Werder did not pay a penny in transfer fees for him, but Naby Keita might very well be the worst signing of the season. His Bremen career could be over after just five appearances.

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