Liverpool are stepping up their efforts to push through a deal for Nabil Fekir before the World Cup Finals.
The Reds are aware of the pitfalls of waiting until after the tournament in Russia, with the potential for rival bids for players – and a massive leap in price tag if the player impresses.
They are trying to get a meeting with Lyon president Jean-Michel Aulas this week to thrash out exactly what the asking price is for the 24-year-old playmaker, who is seen as a replacement for Philippe Coutinho.
On Monday, Lyon insisted there is no rush to complete a transfer, with Aulas suggesting he would prefer to wait until after the finals.
But Fekir himself wants urgent talks with Lyon chiefs as he looks to sort out his future.
Speaking on national television, he said: “There are discussions (with other clubs), it will take time I think. The president knows my desires and we’ll talk about it in the next few days.”
Liverpool are thought to be comfortable with the prospect of meeting the £50million fee the Lyon president previously floated, and don’t want to risk getting into an auction over a player who could end up being in the France starting XI in Russia.
Sporting director Michael Edwards has already made preliminary progress with Lyon in setting a transfer agenda, now he will try to push further in the hope of securing an agreement.
Aulas confirmed on Monday night that he IS open to the idea of selling the 24-year-old, if Fekir wants to leave.
“Nabil Fekir has a past at Lyon. He has a future too. But we always try to go in the direction of the players and listen carefully to what they want,” he said.
“If Nabil wants to play for us in the Champions League next year, we will be delighted. We will listen to what he wants. We will probably know more after the World Cup.”
For Liverpool though, that prospect is not so attractive. Securing a deal now, even one to be completed after the tournament if necessary, is preferable.
Aulas explained he has not yet confirmed direct talks with Liverpool, but made clear a deal could be on the cards.
“For the moment, he is a Lyon player and we are very proud of him,” he said.
“I do not have a scheduled appointment with the directors of Liverpool. There is no urgency at all. We are perfectly calm about the situation.”
Fekir would be the third Reds signing for next season, with Guinea international midfielder Naby Keita already signed on a £52m deal from Germany’s Red Bull Leipzig.