BREMEN, Germany (AP) — Midfielder Naby Keïta is leaving Liverpool on a free transfer to move to the Bundesliga with Werder Bremen, the German club said Friday.
Keïta leaves Liverpool after five years with a team which won every major prize in English soccer with the Premier League in 2020, the Champions League the year before and the FA Cup and League Cup once each.
It’s a return to Germany for the Guinean, who previously played for Leipzig for two years before joining Liverpool in 2018. He only managed 13 games for Liverpool this season, in part because of a series of injuries.
“I’m really excited for my new challenge here in Bremen,” Keïta said in a club statement, adding that “this club and its philosophy will be a good match for me, so this is the right step for my career.”
It’s a surprise signing for Bremen, which placed 13th in its first season back in the Bundesliga after promotion and described the deal as a “transfer coup.” The four-time German champion hasn’t reached any European competition since the 2010-11 season.
Much could depend on Keïta’s fitness as injuries regularly hampered his time at Liverpool. Keïta managed only 129 games for Jürgen Klopp’s team. After playing 25 Premier League games in his first season, he never managed as many in any of the following campaigns.
Keïta singled out coach Ole Werner, who signed a contract extension Tuesday, for helping to convince him to move to Bremen.
“I was impressed by what the club told me about the setup here and Werder’s style of play,” he said. “The coach gave me a really good feeling and showed how I can help the team.”
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