Liverpool have reportedly seen an offer worth £57 million for midfielder Naby Keita rejected by German outfit RB Leipzig, although the player plans to inform the Bundesliga outfit of his desire to leave.
The Guinea international has been frequently linked with a move to Anfield this summer, but RB Leipzig showed their determination by turning down the mega-money bid, according to German daily Bild (h/t Liverpool Echo's Chris Beesley).
Keita wants the move and will "respectfully reiterate his desire to leave" the club, according to Goal's Melissa Reddy, who added that some of the club's board could decide to sell if it's deemed "a smart business decision."
Leipzig are on the cusp of their maiden UEFA Champions League campaign this coming season after finishing second to Bayern Munich in the Bundesliga last term, with the club striving to keep hold of key man Keita ahead of their European bow.
Kaveh Solhekol of Sky Sports News reported on an opening in Keita's contract that could make any move for the box-to-box star easier, although it will require a wait until 2018:
Kaveh Solhekol @SkyKaveh
Bild: RB Leipzig reject £57m Liverpool bid for midfielder Naby Keïta. £48m release clause in his contract kicks in next summer2017-7-13 20:21:05
Bundesliga-based targets have become associated with Liverpool since Jurgen Klopp took over as manager, with Joel Matip, Loris Karius, Ragnar Klavan and Alex Manninger all arriving from Germany last summer.
However, Keita stands in an altogether more high-quality bracket compared to the club's recent investments, and Liverpool football writer Chris Williams indicated the Merseysiders hold an ace in negotiations:
Chris Williams @Chris78Williams
Reports from Germany that Keita is desperate to move Liverpool but RB Leipzig will not move on their "not for sale" stance2017-7-13 18:43:13
Keita's desire to leave Leipzig will be a crucial factor in whether a deal can be agreed this summer, with the Red Bull-sponsored outfit likely to hold out as long as the player is happy to remain at the club.
The 22-year-old scored eight goals and recorded eights assists en route to Leipzig's record-highest finish last term, and there may be a nagging suspicion as to what he may achieve with at least one more season at the club.
Liverpool have already recruited Egyptian Mohamed Salah from AS Roma, and key target Keita would also be liable to miss playing time due to possible Africa Cup of Nations commitments, as well as Senegal forward Sadio Mane.
Klopp was without captain Jordan Henderson for a portion of the 2016-17 campaign and was forced to call upon veteran Lucas Leiva at times, with Emre Can and Georginio Wijnaldum the Reds' other main midfield options.