Liverpool have moved full speed ahead in their attempts to fast forward the transfer of Naby Keita - who is scheduled to arrive in the summer - and are in 'official contact' with RB Leipzig to try and engineer a January move. However, the Reds have been met with opposition (at least publicly) by the German side, who are currently unwilling to sanction a deal.
The Reds agreed a reported £57m deal for the Guinea international last summer, which could rise to £66m - that comes into effect on July 1. However, following Philippe Coutinho's move to Barcelona for £142m, Liverpool are eager to add to their midfield ranks and have moved to bring the transfer forward.
A series of conflicting reports have surfaced surrounding Keita and Liverpool, with BBC Sport stating that RB Leipzig have no intention of sanctioning an early release of the 22-year-old.
The German club told BBC: "There is nothing new about this situation and so that speculation is not true. Nothing has changed and our position hasn't changed from before regarding this transfer."
Whilst Sky Sports reporter Kaveh Solhekol posted on Twitter that the club's manager, Ralph Hassenhuttl has denied all suggestions of a January deal, as he said: "Nothing has changed. We don't have reason to sell before summer. I think Naby wants to finish the season in a good way in Leipzig."
However, the Times have claimed that the two club's are in official contact over the deal while Goal's Melissa Reddy has claimed the transfer of Keita remains "in the balance" as the German outfit are open to moving the transfer forward, with a meeting with the player and Leipzig to take place prior to the weekend.
Earlier reports have suggested Keita is growing increasingly disinterested in staying with the German's for the remainder of the season having heard of Liverpool's ambitions, an attitude shift which has become a key consideration for Leipzig as they weigh up their options.
Should Leipzig agree to Liverpool's proposition, a change in the payment structure of the deal will need to be made as the current agreement is fixed around the German outfit's finishing position this season.
The total transfer fee would then reportedly be in the region of the fee the Reds paid for Virgil van Dijk's transfer from Southampton, as a figure around £75m could tempt Leipzig.
Having worked tirelessly to reach a respectful agreement last summer, Liverpool are conscious of maintaining a healthy relationship with Leipzig. In addition, should Keita make the move this month he would not be able to play in the Champions League having already featured for his current club