Liverpool's top transfer target, midfielder Naby Keïta, is proving to be a difficult capture for the club, with RB Leipzig once again reiterating their stance that the player is ‘not for sale at any price.’
Ralf Rangnick has insisted there is no release clause in the box-to-box player's contract, and even if Liverpool were to offer a "three figure sum" it would be declined by the Bundesliga runners-up.
Back when Liverpool's interest was first registered, a fee of around £26 million was the asking price per reports in Germany, but that fee has risen steeply since then, with the suggestion even a world-record bid would not be enough.
But price will not be a concern for Liverpool, with their owners Fenway Sports Group prepared to back the club in the market.
If it took more than £70 million to get Keïta, they would have no problem in stumping up such a fee, but the issue is that Leipzig are not short of money themselves, and are firmly in control of the situation.
Leipzig know that next year Keïta will be able to leave for around £48 million, due to a domestic release clause in his contract that comes into effect in 2018, but Jürgen Klopp wants him now.
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Liverpool are aware that the likes of Bayern Munich and Barcelona might well be interested next summer, whilst at the moment they are the only party showing significant signs of interest.
It might be in the best interests of Leipzig to sell to Liverpool now rather than allow the potential for a move to German top-flight rivals Bayern next summer, but at the moment there is no suggestion that they are thinking that way.
Emil Forsberg is another Leipzig player who Liverpool have been linked with in the past. There is no interest from the club in him right now, but Rangnick also confirmed that he and the other top players at Leipzig will not be allowed to leave.
He told the press:"I will repeat it one more time: we will not sell any of our key players. There are a lot of reports about there being a certain figure where we could be open to a sale, but they are all false."
Leipzig are heading into a Champions League campaign themselves this season, and want to strengthen themselves rather than lose key players, and it seems prising Keïta away will be a difficult task.
Just like with the pursuit of Virgil van Dijk, the ball is very much in the player’s court. It is likely that Keïta will have to make it publicly clear he wants to leave before any deal can be done. It might be that any transfer will be a few weeks down the line, if it can be done at all.