Liverpool risk losing their top transfer target Timo Werner after reportedly deciding against spending £52m to meet his RB Leipzig release clause.
The Reds believe that in the current market with finances plummeting across the globe and revenue being lost by the bucket load in football, that Werner is only worth around the £30m mark.
The German side say they are relaxed about the situation and do not seem in the mood to haggle, with Werner still having three years left on his Leipzig contract – although the release clause does reportedly drop to £35m next summer.
Leipzig CEO Oliver Mintzlaff, though, is sticking to his guns and says the club will not be forced into letting their star man go for less than the release clause.
“It won’t get any cheaper. We will not sell a player below value if he is under contract for more than a year," Mintzlaff told Sport Bild.
"In general, we always ask the question: can we replace a player if we sell him for less than his market value?"
"But, I only think about those things once I have the facts on the table.
"In that case, we will have complete control over the situation. I am relaxed. Timo has a contract over the next three years."
Liverpool’s stance could open the door for the likes of Chelsea and Man Utd, who could come in and match Leipzig’s valuation to pinch the 24-year-old from under the Premier League leaders' noses.
Inter Milan and Barcelona are also in the running to sign the striker, who has scored 30 goals this season from just 39 games.
Werner has continually been singing the praises of Liverpool and Jurgen Klopp, with a virtual meeting between the two said to have taken place, but the fact that the would-be champions are facing a huge drop-off in revenue means they may struggle to spend big this summer.
Selling the likes of Xherdan Shaqiri, Harry Wilson and Marko Grujic was in the plan to raise funds for the Werner move, but the current coronavirus crisis means that that trio are unlikely to bring in enough in fees.
It’s a bold stance from the Reds, as we’ve written before about how Werner would settle right in at Anfield and, before the crisis hit, the £52m was not the biggest gamble in the world to take.
Werner has said that he’d stay in Germany another season if he didn’t get the right move and that may yet be the final decision on this transfer saga unless Liverpool and Leipzig can get creative and make a deal.
We are committed in our support of responsible gambling. Recommended bets are advised to over-18s and we strongly encourage readers to wager only what they can afford to lose.