Bayer Leverkusen starlet Julian Brandt rejected a move to Liverpool because he feels "the time to move has not arrived yet". Brandt, 21, was one of Jurgen Klopp's main transfer targets but opted against swapping the BayArena for Anfield in order to keep progressing as a player and heighten his chances of being named in the Germany squad for the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

The Reds were planning to push through a £20m ($25.4m) deal for Brandt this summer after being rebuffed by Leverkusen in January, but the Olympic silver medalist saw fit to reject Klopp's side due to concerns over the amount of playing time he would have received on Merseyside. He also felt a need to set things straight with Bayer, who slumped to a disastrous 12th-place finish in the Bundesliga last season.

"My gut feeling and my head are telling me the time to move has not arrived yet. I have to straighten things out in Leverkusen," Brandt told Kicker, as relayed by the Liverpool Echo. "Of course there are players who say a year without European football before the World Cup is good reason to move.

"But if you move to a bigger club a year before the World Cup, you risk taking time at first to settle which possibly means playing fewer games."

Liverpool soon moved on from that unsuccessful pursuit of Brandt by breaking their transfer record to sign Egypt international Mohamed Salah, who arrived from AS Roma in a deal believed to be worth around £36.9m.

A deal for Brandt would have cost significantly less - he will be allowed to leave Leverkusen for £17m next summer - but Salah thoroughly outperformed the Germany international during the last campaign.

Julian Brandt
Brandt has his eyes on next year's World Cup. Getty Images

The former Chelsea winger scored 19 goals and provided 12 assists in all competitions as Roma secured Champions League qualification, while Brandt could only manage four goals and eight assists for Leverkusen as they drifted towards the bottom half of the German league.