Juventus director Beppe Marotta has admitted his club is unlikely to land Borussia Dortmund star Ilkay Gundogan, handing Liverpool a huge boost in the race to sign the midfielder. Meanwhile, Reds manager Jurgen Klopp is reportedly keen to keep hold of Joao Teixeira.
Gundogan has been heavily linked with a transfer move to Anfield, with recent rumours suggesting he has already told Dortmund he has no intention of extending his current contract, per Bild (h/t Daily Mirror's Liam Corless).
Per Calciomercato's Fabrizio Romano, Juventus have also been mentioned as a possible destination, but Marotta thinks it's unlikely the Germany international would move to Serie A.
Appearing on La Domenica Sportiva (h/t Gianluca Di Marzio's Jean-Luca Mascaro, via David Amoyal), he said:
We wont sign many players in the summer because we will give our youth a chance to develop. Our intentions are to keep (Paul) Pogba, like we did last year even if there were multiple offers. In all cases, the player's will is very important, like with (Arturo) Vidal last year for example. Arturo wanted to go to Bayern since they were offering much more money and we couldn't rival the offer he had received. Gundogan? It is easier to keep Pogba. Even if he wanted a move, I don't think he would choose the Italian league.
Gundogan will be a popular player on the transfer market if rumours he's unwilling to sign a new deal with Dortmund turn out to be true, and there are strong indications a move could be on the horizon.
Will Gundogan leave Dortmund in 2016?
The 25-year-old came close to leaving Die Schwarzgelben in 2015 after a lengthy contract battle that at one point led to the club confirming he wouldn't be signing a new deal, per BBC Sport. He eventually put pen to paper, but the entire ordeal made it very clear the midfielder was at least thinking about a transfer.
Per Metro's George Bellshaw, Dortmund manager Thomas Tuchel recently admitted transfer interest in the player is complicating the current contract negotiations, further clouding Gundogan's future.
The passing wizard has returned to his best form following a long battle with injuries that kept him out of the 2014 FIFA World Cup, playing a vital role in Dortmund's strong 2015-16 Bundesliga campaign.
Known for his ability to orchestrate from midfield, he's also more than capable of scoring himself, as you can see in this video, courtesy of the Bundesliga's official YouTube channel:
If Gundogan does become available, a host of top clubs around the continent will likely go head-to-head for his services, and Liverpool will have their work cut out for them if they hope to land his signature. The presence of Klopp, who unlocked Gundogan's vast potential while the two worked together in Dortmund, should hand the Reds an advantage.
Elsewhere, the Sun's Alan Nixon reports Huddersfield Town want to land Teixeira during the summer, as he's set to become a free agent, but Klopp remains hopeful the Portuguese midfielder will sign a new deal with the Reds ahead of another possible loan move to gain experience.
Huddersfield are managed by David Wagner, Klopp's former assistant and a close friend, and the 44-year-old appears desperate to make a name for himself. Landing Teixeira would go a long way toward achieving that goal, although Liverpool still have plenty of time to convince the 23-year-old to stay.
Teixeira has seen limited action for the Reds this season, starting against Bournemouth in the Capital One Cup and scoring in the FA Cup replay against Exeter City. The attacking midfielder, who can also play as a winger, has tons of potential, but he's still a very raw player who isn't expected to see a huge increase in minutes in the near future.
Another loan spell could be an option, and with Wagner running things at Huddersfield, the Championship side would be the perfect destination. Teixeira may be more inclined to join the Terriers on a permanent basis, however, handing him a little more control of his career. Per Nixon, contract negotiations will take place in the coming weeks.