Liverpool have failed with a club-record bid for highly-rated RB Leipzig midfielder Naby Keita, reports suggest. The Guinea international has emerged as Jurgen Klopp's clear priority transfer target following the arrival of Mohamed Salah and botched pursuit of Southampton centre-back Virgil van Dijk that may now have been revived.
German publication Bild understand that the Reds tabled an offer worth €65m (£57.2m, $74.2m) for Keita, which has promptly rebuffed. However, Klopp is said to be "desperate" to land the player and it seems likely that another approach will be forthcoming sooner rather than later.
Leipzig have remained adamant that the 22-year-old is simply not for sale, with chief executive Oliver Mintzlaff insisting that it would be "irresponsible" for the club to part with any of their key performers ahead of a maiden foray into the Champions League.
He also described the saga as "boring" while stressing that limited upheaval would be beneficial to a notably young squad as they look to provide a repeat of their memorable first season in the top-flight of German football.
So far only German Under-21 forward Davie Selke has been offloaded to Hertha Berlin, although the likes of Emil Forsberg and Timo Werner have also been subject to widespread interest.
Sporting director Ralf Rangnick has been just as eager to reiterate Leipzig's hardline stance with regards to outgoing transfers, maintaining that the Bundesliga runners-up would not consider selling even for a "three-figure transfer fee".
He also quashed speculation that Keita's contract contains a €55m release clause that comes into effect from the summer of 2018. The Guardian previously reported that Leipzig had indicated they would not allow him to leave for anything under £70m.
While Leipzig's desire to retain their best players in certainly admirable, they might yet find their ambitions scuppered by the player's own wishes. Former Liverpool striker Titi Camara recently suggested that his compatriot "has his heart set" on a switch to Anfield.
Speaking to Die Welt last month, however, Keita, who only joined Leipzig from sister club Red Bull Salzburg in June 2016, curiously mentioned Manchester City - and not Liverpool - alongside La Liga giants Barcelona and Real Madrid in a list of major clubs that he hopes he may be able to play for in two or three years' time.
Liverpool have broken their transfer record once already this summer with the £36.9m addition of former Chelsea winger Salah from AS Roma. England Under-20 World Cup star Dominic Solanke is their only other addition so far this window, with Klopp urging the need for patience as they attempt to further strengthen their squad ahead of a return to Europe's elite club competition.