Red Bull Leipzig have confirmed that striker Timo Wener does not have a release clause and the Bundesliga club are under no pressure to sell, thwarting Real Madrid and Liverpool's pursuit. The 21-year-old netted 21 goals last term to fire Leipzig to a second-place finish in their first ever season in the German top flight.
That unprecedented success sees Leipzig take their place in this season's Champions League for the first time and face Monaco in their maiden fixture in European competition on Wednesday [13 September]. Werner is key to the club's future success and according to Transfermarkt is valued at £22.5m.
But according to his club Werner does not have a release clause and with the club about to receive the riches of Europe's premier club competition there is no need to part with their star player. The news comes as a blow to both Real and Liverpool, who have been linked with the forward in recent weeks.
"He has a contract until 2020 and he feels at home here," said club director Olivier Mintzlaff, according to The Sun, before confirming the player does not have an exit clause. "We are playing in the Champions League. With this, we can offer Timo everything to continue his development here. We are completely relaxed. Here, he has the perfect platform."
The news follows reports from German television channel Sport1 [via The Mirror] that Real had joined Liverpool as the two clubs interested in a move for Werner, after the 12-time European champions missed out on signing Kylian Mbappe during the summer.
Leipzig have already done business with Liverpool once having agreed to allow Naby Keita to move to Anfield next summer for £48m, and will do its upmost to prevent a second player moving to the Premier League. The club have restricted the outgoings since their stunning first season in the Bundesliga, with Oliver Burke and Davie Selke the only key departures.
Though Liverpool did welcome four new players to Merseyside during the summer, one man who Jurgen Klopp was unable to tempt to the club was Iker Casillas, 36, who U-turned on leaving FC Porto after signing a new one-year deal in the summer.
The former Real stopper's contract with Porto expired after two years in June but the following month he penned a new 12-month extension. Across two campaigns he has made 88 appearances in all competitions but has been unable to inspire the club to the Portuguese title.
AS suggested during the summer that Casillas would be keen on a move to Liverpool. The goalkeeping position has long been a problem for Klopp since his arrival with Simon Mignolet and Loris Karius regularly rotated. But World Cup winner Casillas opted to remain at the Estadio do Dragao.
"I stayed for several reasons," said Casillas, who has made the most Champions League appearances in the tournament's history, according to Esporte Interativo. "Firstly, things have gone well for me in the previous two years. This club believed in me and helped me to be at the top, I owe them.
"Secondly, because since I arrived we have finished second each season. Spending two years here and not winning a single trophy would be a sour ending. My objective and my intention is to win titles and to help Porto to continue to be an important club in Portugal and respected in Europe. That's why I decided to stay."