Talks still ongoing over Can extension

LONDON • Emre Can's contract stand-off with Liverpool has been described as "not too cool" by manager Jurgen Klopp, but the English Premier League club believe that the player's commitment will not be compromised.

The Germany midfielder has entered the final year of his deal despite discussions on an extension having started more than 12 months ago.

Juventus have been regularly linked with a move for the 23-year-old, who has said that his failure to re-sign at Anfield is not over money, but related to his role in the team.

Can previously stated that he wants to be the Reds' next "midfielder leader" - a role that is currently more relevant to captain Jordan Henderson.

Liverpool will not sell the German before the transfer window closes, and would rather run the risk of losing him for nothing next summer.

The situation is another distraction at a time when Philippe Coutinho is actively looking to quit the club, having submitted a transfer request last Friday, days after Barcelona put in a bid of £90 million (S$158 million) for the Brazil playmaker.

"We are still in talks," Klopp said about the situation with Can.

"Do I think it is too cool that we didn't fix it so far? No, to be honest.

"But it is all okay at the moment and we have to take it like this. His mind is not elsewhere. It is an important contract for him at his age.

"I am 100 per cent sure that we don't sell the player now in this situation. He will play here for the next year, that is for sure.

"We want him and he also wants to stay. It is about a few little details.

"The situation is not perfect, I would prefer that he has already signed.

"But I am still positive that we can find the right solution."

Despite Klopp's intention to keep Can at Anfield, it is believed that Liverpool are interested in signing Guinean midfielder Naby Keita from Bundesliga club RB Leipzig.

The Merseyside club will probably have to wait until next summer to trigger Keita's near-£50million release clause in his contract to bring him to Anfield, after a move failed to materialise so far this transfer window.

Nice's Jean Michael Seri has also been linked to Liverpool, with the 26-year-old Ivorian scoring seven goals and providing 10 assists in Ligue 1 last season, proving that he could be an ideal signing to boost Klopp's midfield options.

THE TIMES, LONDON

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 16, 2017, with the headline 'Talks still ongoing over Can extension'. Print Edition | Subscribe