Mateo Kovacic
Kovacic remains heavily linked with Liverpool but the player and his manager say there is nothing set yet.Getty

Barcelona have dropped their pursuit of reported Liverpool target Mateo Kovacic.

Inter Milan schemer Kovacic signed a new contract with the Nerazzurri in January but was named as a player the Catalan giants admired by their international sporting director Ariedo Braida.

"At the moment I can't say anything, there's nothing definite at the moment but I can't deny that he [Kovacic] is a player with the qualities we like," Braida told FCInterNews.It in May.

Italian newspaper Tuttosport reported on 15 June that Liverpool remain very interested in bringing the player to the Premier League and had lodged a bid of €22.6m (£16.3m) with another €3m to follow in add-ons.

While Kovacic subsequently denied talk of an agreement with Liverpool in quotes attributed to the same publication, the Croatia international refused to completely rule out the possibility of leaving Italy.

And should Liverpool remain in the chase for his signature, news that Barcelona have ended their interest in the player will be welcomed in Merseyside.

"Kovacic is no longer in our plans," Barcelona's Braida told FCInterNews.

"We can't sign any other player until January and we already have Aleix Vidal."

After spending £120m in the transfer market last summer to little success, Liverpool's transfer committee and manager Brendan Rodgers will be operating under a tighter budget over the coming months.

The club have already struck three deals, with Manchester City's James Milner, Burnley striker Danny Ings and Bolton Wanderers goalkeeper Adam Bogdan all set to arrive on free transfers when their current deals expire on 1 July.

Liverpool face a summer where they must build on the squad of players that limped to a disappointing sixth place finish during the 2014-15 Premier League season and fill the void left by Steven Gerrard, who has departed the club after 17 years.