Liverpool remain hopeful of signing Southampton defender Nathaniel Clyne but must raise their latest £12 million offer by a further £3 million to meet the south coast club's £15 million asking price for the England international.
That's according to The Independent, who suggest the 24-year-old is still high on Reds boss Brendan Rodgers' list of transfer priorities during the summer window, they just need to reach agreement with the player's current employers.
Clyne has also been heavily linked with a prospective switch to Manchester United, but those rumours have gone quiet in recent weeks as Louis van Gaal considers alternative right-back options for Old Trafford next season.
The recent arrival of Cedric Soares from Sporting Lisbon has increased the likelihood that the former Crystal Palace man will leave St Mary's, although some reports have suggested that the Portugal international has been brought in to compete with Clyne for that starting spot on the right side of Saints' defence.
However, if the Englishman continues to stall over committing his future to the Hampshire-based outfit by refusing to sign a new contract, then Ronald Koeman might be forced to cash-in on the player.
With just 12 months remaining on his existing deal, Clyne could leave on a Bosman free transfer next year, and will be able to start negotiating with potential suitors in January, and Southampton will be determined to recoup as much money as possible.
Liverpool's first offer of £10 million fell way short of the club's valuation of the homegrown talent, and whilst they returned with a marginal improvement it's still not enough to activate negotiations with the flying full-back.
Van Gaal is in the market for a right-sided defender after deeming Brazilian Rafael surplus to requirements at the Theatre of Dreams, but for whatever reason the veteran Dutch coach appears to have gone off the idea of recruiting Clyne.
Antonio Valencia provided astute cover in that area of the pitch, whilst the Red Devils also have Phil Jones and Chris Smalling capable of operating in that role, despite the fact both their long-term futures are seen at centre-back.
However, their indecisiveness has paved way for Liverpool to overtake Manchester United in the race to secure Clyne's signature, with the youngster lined up as a replacement for Glen Johnson at Anfield.
Were he to complete a transfer the defender would become the fourth player to swap Southampton for Liverpool over the past 12 months, following in the footsteps of Rickie Lambert, Adam Lallana and Dejan Lovren, who all made the move to Merseyside last summer.
Earlier today Clyne tweeted a message in support of Three Lions team-mate - and prospective club colleague - Jordan Henderson, urging his followers to vote for the Reds midfielder to be the face of the new FIFA 16 cover.
Liverpool fans: Do you think Nathaniel Clyne would be a good signing for Brendan Rodgers this summer? Is £15m a fair asking price from Southampton? Share your thoughts below...
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