Lazio President Claudio Lotito confirms “Milan offered €35m for Keita Balde Diao, West Ham €32m and Napoli €30m. Juventus bid €15m – it’s extortion.”
The striker is currently refusing to attend training sessions after he was dropped for the Italian Super Cup against Juve, which the Aquile won 3-2.
His contract is due to expire at the end of the season and he has rejected multiple proposals.
“First things first, it’s not true that we have not proposed a new contract to Keita,” Lotito told La Gazzetta dello Sport.
“We met twice with his agent Roberto Calenda and Keita’s brother was present too. We offered him the same wages as Miroslav Klose (€2m per year, ndr), the highest-paid player under my tenure. The response was that the lad wanted to leave Lazio.
“There were three formal offers, all of them I can prove with documentation. Milan would’ve given us €35m, West Ham €32m and Napoli €30m.
“Keita and his agent replied they were not interested in any of the three, that the destination they wanted was Juventus. The player confirmed it to me in the pre-season training camp.
“The Bianconeri consider €15m to be a suitable offer, but I cannot sell a player for half of the lowest other offer I received. If I got proposals worth €30m, why should I sell him for half that?
“You tell me his contract is running down and I risk losing him for nothing if I don’t accept? Well I say that is extortion and practically qualifies as a crime.
“We will evaluate taking legal action. A contract must be respected and not just if a player doesn’t get game time. It’s also false to say that he was dropped because of a club diktat, as it was purely Simone Inzaghi’s choice.
“They tell me that in the locker room the player confessed he didn’t feel up to playing, then seemed below par in the training session. What a coincidence, he was going to play against Juve…
“Inzaghi will decide whether to use Keita or not this season. As for his contract running down, zero patience. It is more important to respect the rules.”