RB Leipzig CEO Oliver Mintzlaff has denied any contact with Liverpool over a possible deal to sign Timo Werner, with the club adamant he could stay beyond the summer.
The Reds’ negotiations over signings, sales and contracts have stalled due to the coronavirus pandemic, with the club not able to assess the market accurately.
But Werner is widely regarded as a priority target for Jurgen Klopp, with the German available for around £50.5 million due to a release clause in his contract.
This—and public knowledge of this—has been frequently overlooked by Mintzlaff when rejecting claims Werner will leave Leipzig at the end of the season, with the German outfit stressing that he is tied down to 2023.
Now, though, the chief executive has claimed that the club have yet to receive contact from Liverpool or, for that matter, Bayern Munich.
“We are happy that we were able to extend our contract with him until 2023.
“He played a really strong first half of the season and was one of the reasons why we [were top of the Bundesliga over the winter break] because of his 18 goals.
“We also believe that we are still a very good stage for Timo Werner, on which he can develop as a German international.”
Despite their lack of acknowledgement of Werner’s release clause, Leipzig are taking a clear approach with speculation over the 24-year-old’s future.
With the situation largely out of their hands if the likes of Liverpool or Munich make a £50.5 million bid, their lifeline is to convince the forward he should remain at the Red Bull Arena.
It is similar, albeit less heavy-handed, to the stance taken by Ralf Rangnick during his time as sporting director, when the Reds were courting Naby Keita.
In Werner’s case it could work, of course, with the Germany international yet to openly concede he is looking to leave the club—and rightly so, with the campaign yet to be concluded.
The assertion that Leipzig have yet to speak to either Klopp or Rummenigge is interesting—though surely Michael Edwards would make initial contact in Liverpool’s case—but not at odds with reports in England.
Prior to lockdown, the latest was that talks had only reached an informal stage, which could imply discussions with Werner’s representatives, or through club intermediaries.
A deal is likely to get back on track when the season resumes, with Werner a no-brainer target to join Klopp’s attacking ranks.