SALZBURG, AUSTRIA - Tuesday, December 10, 2019: FC Salzburg's Dominik Szoboszlai during the final UEFA Champions League Group E match between FC Salzburg and Liverpool FC at the Red Bull Arena. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Liverpool hold ‘positive’ Dominik Szoboszlai talks – but local journalists downplay interest

Liverpool have made steady progress towards a potential move for Dominik Szoboszlai, but the latest reports suggest they will need to fend off competition from elsewhere.

The Reds’ interest in Szoboszlai was first reported earlier this week when The Athletic‘s David Ornstein wrote that talks between the club and the player had taken place over a possible transfer.

The RB Leipzig midfielder joins the likes of Khephren Thuram, Manu Kone and Ryan Gravenberch on Liverpool’s list of summer targets, but can play in a variety of roles across the middle of the park as well as on the right wing.

On Thursday, chief reporter for the Leipziger Volkszeitung Guido Schafer indicated in an interview with The Anfield Wrap that the 22-year-old’s preference would be a switch to Liverpool over Newcastle, but it appears things might not be quite so straightforward.

Chris Bascombe of the Telegraph reported on Friday morning that Liverpool have held talks with Szoboszlai but that the club have “played down” interest due to the likely cost involved.

Bascombe wrote: “Klopp’s desire for another attacking midfielder is well documented, with Liverpool assessing various options ahead of the new season and they are well aware of the deadline surrounding Szoboszlai.”

2K08982 Leipzig, Germany. 10th Sep, 2022. Soccer: Bundesliga, Matchday 6, RB Leipzig - Borussia Dortmund at the Red Bull Arena. Leipzig's Dominik Szoboszlai celebrates after his goal for 2:0. Credit: Robert Michael/dpa - IMPORTANT NOTE: In accordance with the requirements of the DFL Deutsche FuBball Liga and the DFB Deutscher FuBball-Bund, it is prohibited to use or have used photographs taken in the stadium and/or of the match in the form of sequence pictures and/or video-like photo series./dpa/Alamy Live News Contributor: dpa picture alliance / Alamy Stock Photo

The reports were echoed by Paul Joyce of the Times, who suggested that an offer from Liverpool isn’t “imminent” but that interested parties may have to negotiate a higher price than the £60 million release clause, which expires on June 30.

It backs up Ornstein’s claims that the deal is considered “complicated” at this stage, with the fee likely to be the biggest obstacle in getting the transfer over the line.

Positive talks with the Hungarian’s representatives on Monday “went positively,” according to Sky Sports‘ Melissa Reddy, who followed a similar path of local journalists downplaying Liverpool’s intent.

SOUTHAMPTON, ENGLAND - Sunday, May 28, 2023: Liverpool's manager Jürgen Klopp during the pre-match warm-up before the FA Premier League match between Southampton FC and Liverpool FC at St Mary's Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

There looks to be concrete interest and a willingness from Liverpool’s side to pursue the move, but the financial firepower of Newcastle will be tough to match.

Szoboszlai’s current contract with RB Leipzig isn’t set to expire until 2026, meaning that he could command a fee that the Reds deem unfeasible this summer if his release clause is allowed to expire.

Liverpool will be hoping that their longstanding relationship with RB Leipzig will be useful in negotiations, but it appears there is plenty to be done if a move is to be successful.