Liverpool have been dealt an apparent blow in their pursuit of Franck Kessie with reports the AC Milan midfielder is in talks with Spanish giants Real Madrid ahead of a potential transfer.
Kessie's contract runs out in the summer and a number of top outfits across Europe are interested in bringing his talents to their club on a free.
Jurgen Klopp's Liverpool side are supposedly one of those clubs but, according to Spanish publication El Nacional, Real Madrid have opened up negotiations with the Ivory Coast star.
Clubs have been able to speak to Kessie since the January transfer window opened on January 1.
And the report adds that Madrid sent representatives to Milan this week in an attempt to get a deal over the line and beat off competition from not just Liverpool but other Premier League clubs as well.
The Reds faced Kessie twice this season in the UEFA Champions League and won both games, though he impressed in both.
Liverpool's midfield has struggled this season due to injuries and players testing positive for Covid.
Having decided against replacing Gini Wijnaldum in the summer, the Reds could see Kessie as the perfect player to add some youth and dynamism to the centre of the park.