China more likely than Liverpool for exiting Barcelona substitute

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Seydou Keita may have decided to call time on his career at Barcelona, but a move to newly-promoted Chinese Super League club Dalian Aerbin looks to be more on his radar than a switch to the Premier League.

Although not a regular first-team starter, Keita still won 14 trophies at the Nou Camp, but having arrived at the club at the same time as Pep Guardiola, it is speculated that the exit of the former manager has impacted the midfielder’s decision.

Keita stated only last month to Spanish newspaper Marca that he was happy at the club with his family settled and that he was not interested in a move to Liverpool.

However, now that he has decided to move on, Liverpool may decide to make a second attempt to lure the 32-year-old to Anfield.

Keita’s ability to function in numerous midfield roles will be an asset to any club, while his involvement in Barcelona’s style of keep-ball football will offer advantages in terms of retaining possession and ball recycling.

A number of star African players have been enticed to China in the close season, with Didier Drogba and Frederic Kanoute among them.

Dalian head coach Li Ming is reportedly already in Barcelona looking to thrash out terms, with the Mali international likely to be offered a two-year deal.

According to Zhao Mingyang, the owner of the Chinese club, “we have talked a whole day [Saturday], and it is nearly confirmed”.

Therefore, Liverpool may have to turn their attentions elsewhere for midfield targets.

Joe Cole and Alberto Aquilani are returning to the club after loan spells last season and in a way will feel like new signings, while interest in Fulham’s Clint Dempsey is heightening despite him being more of a frontman than a midfielder.

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Craig Kemp

Craig has written for Ladbrokes since the 2010 World Cup, having previously gained a Media & Sports Journalism degree and contributed to publications including the Racing Post. His main areas of interest are horse racing and UFC, but he is also an avid X Factor gambler and likes nothing more than indulging in a spot of Hip Hop Karaoke.