Bayern Munich have admitted they are facing a losing battle to hang on to their Spanish midfielder Thiago Alcantara, amid continuing links with Premier League champions Liverpool.
Sources close to the Anfield club have suggested they have not made a move to sign Alcantara, yet Bayern Munich CEO Karl-Heinz Rummenigge has now confirmed that the 29-year-old is stalling on signing a new contract and may leave the club this summer.
Thiago has one year left on his current Bayern contract and Rummenigge has confirmed that his time in Bavaria could be coming to an end unless he signs the contract that has been offered to him.
"He's a great guy on and off the pitch. We negotiated with him and met all of his wishes, but Thiago Alcantara wants to leave," Rummenigge told Bild.
"It looks like he may want to do something new at the end of his career. We don't want to lose a player for free next year. I say that very clearly."
Rummenigge went on to confirm Bayern have not had any contact with Liverpool over a possible deal for Thiago, but that has not stopped the rumour mill turning over a possible £30m transfer.
A move for Thiago would be something of a departure from Liverpool's recent transfer policy, as they have targeted youthful performers who may have a sell-on value at a later date.
Yet Klopp is a stated admirer of Thiago and that could see the club change their approach for a player who earned lavish praise from the Liverpool manager after his sparkling performance in Bayern's 0-0 draw against the Reds in the Champions League last season.
"Thiago is a world-class footballer," said Klopp after that match. "He played that deep-lying playmaker role very well. Alongside Javi Martinez, they were very good. Thiago is a player I have always admired."
With Adam Lallana set to leave Liverpool at the end of this month, midfield reinforcements may be needed for Klopp and Thiago would add a touch of quality to the outstanding options he already has in the defensive midfield positions that are so important for the dynamic of his team.
A return to his former club Barcelona could also be an option for Thiago, where he is still held in high regard after helping the club win two La Liga titles and the 2011 Champions League title.