Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp insists Emre Can's contract situation is not a problem and stressed nothing has changed regarding the midfielder's future, amid significant interest from Juventus and Bayern Munich.
Can's current deal is set to run out at the end of the season and he does not seem close to committing his future to Jurgen Klopp's side, who will welcome midfielder Naby Keita from Bundesliga outfit RB Leipzig in the summer.
The prospect of Liverpool losing Can for nothing in less than 12 months becomes ever more likely with each passing day, but Klopp has not relinquished hope of thrashing out a deal with his compatriot and will continue to pick him if he remains focused on matters at Anfield.
"There's nothing new," Klopp said in his press conference. "I said it a few times – and it's no problem to repeat it – it's our job to make this club as exciting as possible.
"It's also allowed to sign a contract in May, even with a player who is still already here. I have no problem with that. As long as Emre doesn't give me one sign that his mind is elsewhere then there's no problem."
Can could sign a pre-contract agreement with a club outside of England in January and leave Liverpool for free in the summer. Italian champions Juventus are known admirers of the former Bayer Leverkusen star – they reportedly offered £22.6m to Liverpool in the summer before recruiting Blaise Matuidi – and will look to tie him down in the winter transfer window. However, Klopp has no time to consider the midfielder's prospective departure and admits he would want Liverpool to move for a player of a Can's calibre if they were presented with a similar situation.
"That's part of football as well," Klopp said. "If it happens like this then we cannot change it. If there's a player out there with any contract in the summer and he's good, which Emre obviously is, then we should try to do the same. That's an opportunity for all of us.
"If a contract ends then there are two sides who could have done differently. One of them is the club and the other side is the player. It's a normal situation."
Juventus' chief executive Beppe Marotta has made no secret of his admiration for Can in recent months, but the Bianconeri may face competition for the German's signature from one of his former clubs.
Bayern Munich manager Jupp Heynckes, who briefly worked with Can when he was coming through at the Allianz Arena, heaped praise on the 23-year-old before running through all the requirements a player needs to meet in order to be deemed worthy of playing for the Bundesliga champions.
"There's always certain criteria when you're signing a player," Heynckes was quoted as saying by Football365. "I only had Emre Can for a few months. He is a good, young player who has developed well – he is dynamic and powerful.
"In my opinion, if Bayern want to play a dominant role in the Champions League again, we must have suitable players for every position.
"The most important thing for me is that the player's footballing concept meets our extremely high level. Not just his physical attributes and speed. There are many factors that play a role and everyone has different criteria. Not to forget, the player's character is important. He must also be a team player with social skills.
"He doesn't just have to fit on a sporting level. There are 20-24 young people together, they have to get on and respect each other, and their ego has to take a back seat. Therefore, the player's character and behaviour is most important for new signings."