Bayer Leverkusen winger Julian Brandt has reportedly agreed a £25 million deal with Bayern Munich, spurning long-term interest from Liverpool.
Brandt was widely believed to be one of Jurgen Klopp‘s priority targets ahead of the summer transfer window, with the Germany international fitting the bill perfectly.
But while Brandt would have been an ideal signing in that regard, it now seems the Reds have been dealt a major blow in their pursuit.
According to the German publication Bild, Brandt will instead join Bundesliga heavyweights Bayern, in a deal worth around £25 million.
It is unclear whether Brandt will move to Munich ahead of next season or in 2018, with previous reports suggesting Bayern were attempting to negotiate a move for the following summer.
But either way, this is a major blow to Liverpool’s hopes in the transfer market, potentially leaving Klopp to identify alternative targets.
If this is the case, this is something of a worrying trend for the Reds, as they continually lose out to their European rivals.
A key example of this, Brandt’s compatriot Mahmoud Dahoud, was unveiled as Borussia Dortmund’s second signing ahead of the summer on Thursday, in a deal worth around £10 million.
Though Liverpool’s interest was reported to have cooled long before, recent suggestions that this came due to Jordan Henderson‘s emergence as Klopp’s first-choice No. 6 seem particularly convenient.
Dahoud was long destined for Dortmund, and given Bayern’s pursuit of Brandt prior to his move to Leverkusen in 2014, this may have been the case with the 20-year-old too.
RB Leizpig midfielder Naby Keita has been mooted as a possible midfield target for the Reds this summer, but it seems even less likely they will be able to sign the Guinean.
If Brandt does join Bayern, that this has happened prior to the transfer window opening could be seen as a positive, negating any late scramble for alternatives.
But the hope will be that this doesn’t prompt Klopp to push for lesser lights such as Demarai Gray or Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain before scouring the continent further.