Liverpool have been given very little encouragement in their pursuit of Schalke's Leon Goretzka, with the Merseyside club believing the midfielder is on his way to Bayern Munich at the end of the season, according to reports.

The Liverpool Echo says the Reds have been in contact with Goretzka's representatives and are trying to persuade him to move to Anfield when his Schalke contract expires in the summer.

However, Bayern are reported to be in advanced negotiations to agree a deal for the 22-year-old, with club chairman Karl Heinz-Rummenigge hinting that an agreement is close.

Barcelona and Manchester United have also been linked with a move for Goretzka, who is free to sign a pre-contract agreement with foreign clubs as he is in the final six months of his contract at Schalke.

"You only have an agreement when the contract is signed and the player passes the medical tests. We are not that far yet," Rummenigge was quoted as saying.

"Now the player has to decide, I heard the decision will be made within the next days, so before the end of January.

"And, of course, it would be very nice, if he decides to join Bayern Munich."

Leon Goretzka
Schalke's Leon Goretzka is reported to be close to signing a pre-contract agreement with Bayern Munich Getty

Schalke remain determined to keep hold of Goretzka and have offered to make the Germany international the highest paid player in the club's history.

The Bundesliga side's sporting director, Christian Heidel, hit out at Bayern's public courting of Goretzka earlier this month.

"Bayern insist Leon is a Schalke player but still talk about a Schalke player more than they do any of their own," Heidel was quoted as saying by ESPN.

"This way speculation is fuelled. We should not have to listen to Munich telling us every day how good the player is."

Meanwhile, Liverpool have admitted defeat in their attempts to bring forward RB Leipzig midfielder Naby Keita's move to Anfield ahead of the summer.

The Reds refused to meet Leipzig's demand of an £18m payment to conclude the transfer this month on top of the £67m transfer fee agreed between the clubs in the summer.