Any lingering hopes Liverpool may have harboured regarding a summer deal for Marco Asensio appear to be over after the highly-rated young attacking midfielder confirmed his desire to remain with Real Madrid.
Asensio's stock in the Spanish capital has risen considerably following loan spells with former club Mallorca and Espanyol. The 21-year-old featured 23 times across all competitions last term and capped off a highly encouraging campaign with a last-minute goal for Zinedine Zidane's side as they claimed back-to-back Champions League titles courtesy of an emphatic 4-1 win over Juventus in Cardiff.
Liverpool have clearly been seduced by Asensio's promising displays and reports from radio programme El Partidazo de Cope later corroborated by AS claimed that the Premier League outfit had lodged a €50m (£43.8m, $55.8m) offer for his services.
La Liga winners Real were said to have no intention of selling the player, however, with Zidane apparently set to offer him a more significant first-team role next season.
That plan would seem to mesh perfectly with the ambitions of Asensio, who has his sights firmly fixed on becoming a permanent starter at the Santiago Bernabeu sooner rather than later.
"No, my intention is to stay at Real Madrid and to earn a lot of minutes," he was quoted as saying by Marca. "My goal is to be a starter at Real Madrid."
Looking back over the entire 2016-17 campaign, he added: "There were moments when I didn't play, but I wanted to make the most of any chances the coach afforded me and I finished up in good form. I wasn't used to not playing. Yet I worked hard to make the most of the opportunities I got and I was able to finish the season well."
Asensio, who has earned two more senior caps for his country since making his international debut in a 3-1 friendly defeat of Bosnia and Herzegovina in May 2016, was speaking at a press conference held in advance of Spain's latest 2018 World Cup qualifier against Macedonia in Skopje on Sunday (11 June). Julen Lopetegui's undefeated La Roja, currently level on points with Italy at the summit of Group G, warmed up for that clash at the Philip II National Arena by claiming a late 2-2 draw against Colombia earlier this week.
Liverpool have endured a disappointing start to their summer transfer business, seemingly priced out of a deal for Roma winger Mohamed Salah and forced to issue a grovelling apology to Southampton for any misunderstanding in their pursuit of Virgil van Dijk.
The club are said to have offered a two-year deal to free agent left-back Gael Clichy following his release by Manchester City and also appear to be tracking the likes of Gelson Martins, Andrew Robertson, Alexandre Lacazette and Douglas Costa as well as RB Leipzig duo Naby Keita and Timo Werner. Another target, Lazio's Balde Keita, looks primed to stay in Serie A and join AC Milan.