RB Leipzig have told Liverpool to forget about recruiting Naby Keita this summer, with a deal “practically impossible” to conclude.
The £66 million offer for the Guinea international was submitted by the Merseysiders on Monday, and was rejected with the same message that accompanied their opening bid - the dynamic midfielder is not for sale at any price.
The Reds had been encouraged enough to table a second proposal, but Ralf Rangnick’s hardline approach is the Bundesliga club’s de facto stance.
The sporting director’s position was echoed by their owner Dietrich Mateschitz, who told German publication Bild there is “no way” Keita will be allowed to leave during this window. This has been communicated to the 22-year-old, who has been advised to abandon his desire to move to Anfield for now.
Liverpool, however, have yet to give up on a priority target for Jurgen Klopp, having been patient in their pursuit thus far.
It was always known that Leipzig would be difficult to do business with due to their financial might as well as their great ambition and that even breaking the record for a transfer in Germany’s top flight would only possibly tempt, not force them into a sale.
The offer tendered this week matched the Bundesliga benchmark of €75m, which is the fee Manchester City paid Wolfsburg for Kevin De Bruyne in 2015.
On Tuesday, after Liverpool again formally registered their determination to land Keita and were met with another firm ‘no’, Klopp said: “everything is open until August 31” when asked about transfers during the club's pre-season tour in Hong Kong.
The 50-year-old has been reluctant to deviate from his first-choice options saying: “We want to have the right things and not just do something.” However, he admitted that moving on to alternatives “is more likely than doing nothing” in the window.
Hull City left-back Andy Robertson, meanwhile, will have his medical on Thursday ahead of an initial £8m switch to Liverpool, while Kevin Stewart heads in the opposite direction in a deal that could rise to the same amount.