Lazio never considered Keita – agent

As Keita Balde’s contract enters its final year, the player’s agent denies Lazio’s claims that there have been attempts at negotiating a renewal.

The Senegal international finally found his feet in the Serie A after three indifferent seasons with the Rome club, scoring 16 league goals and providing five assists in 31 league appearances in their 2016/17 campaign.

Heading into the final year of his contract, the winger’s agent has hit out at the Lazio board, accusing them of not taking the player’s interests into consideration and making a half-hearted attempt at negotiating a new contract.

“We have been clear, Lazio have not,” Roberto Calenda told Corriere dello Sport. “They never gave us any clue as to the plan for Keita, which is also why this season he played in fits and starts. Lazio made a legitimate choice: they didn’t even think about a renewal.

“Therefore, the player is on the market, but we did not turn any offers down because Lazio never told us anything. As far as Lazio are concerned, what the player wants has never been remotely relevant.”

The agent went on to deny Lazio director Igli Tare’s claims that adequate attempts have been made to secure Keita’s future at the club.

“Over the last two years, we have never been offered a renewal. Only in the last week was there a clumsy attempt at negotiation. They suggested a salary that is within the Lazio parameters, but with a top player’s release clause.

“That doesn’t work for us, because Keita is given a huge transfer value just so they can cash in. Lazio see him as an item to be sold.

“It is Lazio who took the player to one year from the end of his contract, so there is only one option: sell now.”