Jordan Henderson hails Liverpool's signing of "top, top player" Naby Keïta

Jordan Henderson hails Liverpool's signing of "top, top player" Naby Keïta

Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson believes the Reds have acquired a "top, top player" with the addition of Naby Keïta from RB Leipzig - the Guinean joining the club next summer in a record-breaking deal.

charlie-malam
Charlie Malam

Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson has welcomed the arrival of "top, top player" Naby Keïta from RB Leipzig.

The Reds confirmed a deal for the Guinean midfielder to see him join the club in July 2018 on Tuesday after a summer-long chase of the 22-year-old.

But despite Keïta's arrival adding extra competition for Henderson in the middle of the park, the England international insists that his acquisition is an excellent one from the club. 

Speaking to reporters at the Three Lions' St George's Park training base in Burton-on-Trent, Henderson said: "I have seen Naby play quite a few times and he looks a top, top player. There have been a lot of transfer rumours over the summer and thankfully we ended up doing the business."

The Reds skipper noted that he doesn't come until "next year" but insisted that the club are "delighted to get him" because "he will be a real addition to the squad" and can "hopefully help us over the next few years."

Liverpool paid a premium on top of the £48 million release clause that kicks into Keïta's contract at Leipzig next summer to ensure that they beat off the competition to sign him.

The deal - which is reported to total £55 million inclusive of the premium fee - comes after Liverpool had a bid as high as £66 million rejected for Keïta to sign for the club earlier this summer.

"Anyone would have struggled against Liverpool on Sunday" 

In addition to Keïta, Liverpool are also closing in on the signature of Arsenal midfielder Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain - who can play out wide and centrally - as they continue to strengthen their ranks.

Oxlade-Chamberlain and Henderson are both in Gareth Southgate's current England squad as they prepare for a World Cup qualifying double-header against Malta and Slovakia

The 24-year-old former Southampton trainee started and played 62 minutes on Sunday as part of the Arsenal side that lost 4-0 to the Reds at Anfield.

Henderson, when asked about Liverpool's thrashing of the Gunners, insisted that criticism of Arsenal's display should be balanced by praise of Liverpool's performance.

He said: "Arsenal are still a very good team with very good players. I know they'll get a lot of criticism, especially after our game, but at the same time we were very good."

Henderson insisted that when Liverpool play "with that intensity" then it is "hard for any team to come and perform", adding: "A lot of credit has got to go to the lads at Liverpool for the way that we played and the intensity that we played at. Anyone coming to Anfield that day would have struggled."

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