Liverpool have rejected a £72 million offer for star man Philippe Coutinho from Spanish giants Barcelona.
The Catalan club have reportedly been interested in the Brazilian for some time and see Coutinho as a potential replacement for Andres Iniesta, but they were not expected to come in for him this summer.
At the end of last season, an eventual move for the 25-year-old was considered more likely in the summer of 2018.
That, though, has changed, with strong interest in Barcelona forward Neymar, a fellow Brazilian, from Paris Saint Germain, who are reportedly willing to active his £196 million.
Reds not interested in selling Coutinho
Coutinho would not be a direct replacement for Neymar, but it has been suggested that the Barcelona man would like to play alongside Liverpool's No.10 for his club, as he does for his country, and that by purchasing Coutinho, Neymar might be more likely to remain in Spain, hence the accelerated bid.
It might also just be that Barcelona have changed their stance on Coutinho, and feel now that he is ready to come in immediately and make a difference.
Whatever the motive, Liverpool are determined not to sell their star assets, and rejected the bid out-of-hand. Jürgen Klopp has said many times that his team are not a "selling club" that and Coutinho is absolutely central to his plans.
Even if Liverpool were prepared to listen to offers, £72 million would be nowhere near sufficient in the current market.
There is no price-tag on his head as Liverpool are adamant they will not sell, but close to double that amount of money would seem a fairer figure in a world where Kyle Walker cost more than £50 million and Eric Dier is reportedly valued at close to £70 million.
Coutinho only signed a new five-year contract with Liverpool last term and will not be allowed to leave for any price, the club say, ahead of a huge campaign which could include a Champions League campaign if they navigate a two-legged qualifier next month.
A familiar situation
Liverpool find themselves in a very similar situation to RB Leipzig and Southampton, two clubs who they themselves have attempted big-money raids on this summer.
Both clubs have stuck to the same ‘not-for-sale’ stance on Naby Keïta and Virgil van Dijk, which the Reds insist they will take with Coutinho.
Liverpool have had bids of £58 million and £66 million rejected for Keïta so far, with a latest offer of £72 million reportedly refused. There is a growing feeling that Leipzig will not sell the Guinean at any price, just like Southampton with van Dijk.
For Coutinho to be allowed to move – just as with Keïta and van Dijk – the player will have to force the issue and cause a fuss, but it is thought that the Brazilian is happy on Merseyside.
There is still more than five weeks until the window closes, but there is no suggestion that any of Keïta, van Dijk or Coutinho will be prepared to do that - meaning Liverpool could be forced to look elsewhere in the market although it would see them keep their talismanic playmaker.
Barcelona may yet come back with another offer, but Coutinho will not be allowed to leave this summer. The main problem for Liverpool is that their transfer targets are being told the same thing by their clubs.