Naby Keita spoke with Arsenal's Arsene Wenger before RB Leipzig move
Guinea midfielder Naby Keita says he turned down an approach from Arsenal despite a personal phone call from Arsene Wenger before joining RB Leipzig instead.
Keita, a highly rated 21-year-old who moved to the Bundesliga from Austrian club RB Salzburg this summer, told Die Welt that Manchester City and Liverpool were also interested in him but that Wenger was the only manager he had talked to.
"I only had contact with Arsene Wenger, who spoke French to me," Keita said.
In the end he said that Leipzig sporting director Ralf Rangnick, who previously brought Keita to Salzburg, was the main reason for moving to Germany in a €15 million deal.
"Ralf has treated me like a son. He came to France in 2014 to sign me for Salzburg and I trust him entirely," Keita said. "I joined RB because it is an exciting club with great potential. I didn't want to move to a big Champions League club immediately. It's still too early."
Keita joined Salzburg in 2014 and scored 17 goals in 59 league games for the Austrian side. While many have tipped him to join a bigger club in the future, the Guinean said he does not want to think about that yet.
"I have not played in a competitive match for RB. Why should I already talk about leaving? I do hope that I in two, three years I will be on a level to be able to play for one of the big clubs," he said.
"Right now, I don't busy myself with it, because my focus is on RB and Bundesliga. But someday, and that is my big goal, I want to be the best African footballer."
Mattias is ESPN FC's Arsenal correspondent. Follow him on Twitter: @MattiasKaren.