Southampton have rejected a £20m offer from Liverpool for their captain fantastic Adam Lallana and will hold out for at least £25m before considering allowing the England international to leave St Mary's this summer.
Lallana has been linked with Manchester United for much of 2014 but the Reds moved swiftly to table the first concrete offer for the 26-year-old yesterday, less than 24 hours after the Premier League season had concluded.
Liverpool had a £20m offer rebuffed swiftly by Saints, who insist they are under no obligation to sell, but the Liverpool Echo believe that increasing that bid by £5m will be enough to force the South Coast club to review their position.
Saints are facing a summer of upheaval and have a whopping £27m in outstanding transfer fees to consider as they ponder the futures of Three Lions stars Shaw and Lallana, plus a 25% sell-on clause due to Bournemouth for the latter if a summer sale does go through.
For his part Lallana attempted to address speculation over his future in an interview with the Saints matchday programme before Sunday's final-day clash with Man United, conceding that he has ambitions to play in the Champions League and fight for major honours off the back of a wonderful domestic campaign.
Reds boss Brendan Rodgers is desperate to act swiftly and tie up a deal before United or any other interested party can rival their interest, believing that Lallana possesses the ability and desire to become a integral part of a young, driven squad that exceeded all expectations to finish second in the Premier League this term.
Rodgers has more than £60m to spend in a bid to make sure Liverpool can fight on two fronts next season, but still a fight on his hands and some fierce negotiating to oversee before Lallana can make a summer move to Merseyside.