Liverpool will shelve their efforts to sign Naby Keita until next summer as they wait on RB Leipzig to respond to their third-and-final offer for the player.
Having seen bids of £58million and £66million rejected by the Bundesliga side, the Reds are reported to have contacted Leipzig once again with a take-it-or-leave-it offer of £74million.
The German club have defiantly insisted the player is not for sale at any price, but the Reds remain hopeful they could finally bow to pressure and allow the player to make the move to Anfield he craves.
Their third-and-final bid of £74million would not only smash Liverpool’s club record – currently the £36.9m paid for Mohamed Salah earlier this summer – but would also represent a Bundesliga record.
However, it’s believed the offer will only be accepted if the player submits a transfer request and asks to leave the Bundesliga club, who qualified for the Champions League after finishing second last season.
Should Leipzig continue to resist the sale, however, both The Times and Bild both state Liverpool will walk away from the deal. The Reds would then have the option of waiting until next summer, when they can activate his release clause for £48m, which only comes into effect in the summer of 2018.
Speaking of Liverpool’s interest just last week, Leipzig owner Dietrich Mateschitz said: “He [Keita] still has a contract, and he will fulfill it.
“To sell him would not only be a proof of mistrust for our fans, but also the wrong sign for our other players, such as Timo Werner, who are also in demand.
“We do not sell players who are still under contract just to make a lot of money.”