Liverpool have resumed talks with Aston Villa over Christian Benteke but have been warned there will be no deal unless the £32.5 million buy-out clause is triggered.
The Belgium striker is the Reds biggest transfer target this season and talks have resumed after Raheem Sterling's £49m move to Man City was finally finalised yesterday.
Villa have insisted that they will not accept any bid beneath the £32.5m buyout clause but Liverpool are reluctant to meet the valuation. Nevertheless, Liverpool are expected to step up their pursuit .
Aston Villa manager Tim Sherwood said: “If someone matches that buy-out clause there is nothing we can do about it, but until that happens he is an Aston Villa player and we are all very pleased about that. Liverpool have six or seven strikers at the club so I’m not sure how many more they actually need. We know Christian is a very good player and we want to keep hold of him.”
"It's out of our control because if somebody bids that money, Christian Benteke leaves the football club.
"But we hope he doesn't, we hope nobody bids that money and we hope he doesn't want to go. We hope he knuckles down and we can build something fresh, which is what we're trying to achieve here."
Liverpool are keeping their options open, however, as Juventus and Spain striker Fernando Llorente is thought to be also available.
Fernando Llorente’s brother and agent Jesus has recently confirmed that an exit is imminent as the Spanish international goes in search of guaranteed first-team football in the build up to Euro 2016.
The player has been recently linked with Tottenham Hotspur over the last week but it now seems that both Real Madrid and Liverpool have entered the race for the strikers signature