Liverpool remain unmoved by the latest developments in the Raheem Sterling saga, meaning Manchester City will have to significantly increase their improved bid if they want the England international.
A £40million offer – £35million plus £5million of add-ons and a £10million increase on their opening gambit – was turned down by the Reds.
Even footage of the 20-year-old on holiday apparently taking laughing gas, his second incident in as many months, has not altered Liverpool’s stance.
They value Sterling at a minimum of £50million and video of him taking the legal high is likely to have hurt his reputation more with City than it has with the club to nurture him since he joined their academy at the age of 15.
Liverpool have declined to comment on the latest footage of Sterling but back in April, when his first misdemeanour came to light, manager Brendan Rodgers said: “When you are a professional sportsperson at the top level of the game I don’t think it is something you should be doing.
“Young players make mistakes. As long as they learn from them, that is what is important.”
While Sterling has so far refused to sign a new contract, having turned down a £100,000-a-week offer in January, they have had more success in persuading centre-back Martin Skrtel in agreeing to extend his current deal, which has 12 months remaining.
The Slovakia international is currently on holiday but Press Association Sport understands he has agreed a new contract, which will be signed when he returns for pre-season training, having previously rejected an “unacceptable” offer because of the performance-related way it was structured.
He described it as “the kind offered to players who are much older or who have health problems” but those issues appear to have been overcome.
Charlton teenager Joe Gomez will also undergo a medical on Friday ahead of his £3.5million move.
The Reds triggered the release clause in the England Under-19 defender’s contract and while discussions are continuing regarding the terms of a sell-on fee the deal will not be affected by the talks.
Gomez’s arrival – following that of Manchester City midfielder James Milner, Burnley striker Danny Ings and Bolton goalkeeper Adam Bogdan – is likely to signal the departure of centre-back Sebastian Coates to Sunderland on a £4million permanent deal after the 24-year-old impressed in the closing stages of a loan move at the Stadium of Light.
Southampton’s signing of Sporting Lisbon right-back Cedric Soares paves the way for Nathaniel Clyne to leave for Anfield but, having had an initial £10million bid turned down, the Merseysiders are prepared to be patient in their pursuit of the England international with the Saints reportedly holding out for £15m.