Liverpool’s reported interest in Swedish midfielder Emil Forsberg may have been thwarted, after he signed a new contract with RB Leipzig.
Forsberg has been regularly touted as a target for the Reds in the future, with links reemerging towards the end of December, along with Arsenal, AS Roma and Juventus.
Speaking in January, Forsberg’s agent said he “[couldn’t] promise that Emil [would] be staying in Leipzig this winter,” though the transfer window passed without movement for the 25-year-old.
And now, Forsberg’s commitment to Leipzig should be beyond doubt, after he agreed a new long-term with the club.
The former Malmo midfielder is now set to remain at the Red Bull Arena until 2022, the same length as recent extensions for the Reds’ Joe Gomez and Philippe Coutinho.
Whether Liverpool were actually interested in signing Forsberg is up for debate, and this new contract could be the fruit of his agent’s winter flirtation with the rest of Europe.
But he certainly would have bolstered Jurgen Klopp‘s squad if he did make the move to Merseyside.
Forsberg is enjoying an excellent campaign with Leipzig, as the Bundesliga newcomers challenge for the title at the first time of asking, currently sitting second, with 42 points.
His five goals and nine assists in just 15 league games makes him one of the most productive players in the German top flight, and this blend of creativity and end product is invaluable.
Injury to Coutinho in November highlighting Klopp’s need to add more quality to his attack in the future, while Sadio Mane‘s departure to the Africa Cup of Nations further compounded this last month.
Forsberg would have been an excellent addition in that regard, largely excelling on the left flank but also able to deputise in a number of roles in midfield and attack.
His extension marks another blow for the Reds in terms of their reported targets, with Christian Pulisic also signing a new long-term deal with Borussia Dortmund.
Julian Draxler, subject of a January pursuit from Klopp, left VfL Wolfsburg for Paris Saint-Germain, while Quincy Promes has informally committed his future to Spartak Moscow.
This leaves all signs pointing to a move for Bayer Leverkusen winger Julian Brandt in the summer.
Brandt is expected to be a target for Klopp ahead of the 2017/18 campaign, and the 49-year-old’s dwindling options piles further presser on securing Leverkusen’s No. 19.
But this gives Leverkusen the advantage in any discussion, with the Reds in no position to lowball.