Liverpool legend John Barnes has stated the club should not be held to ransom by midfielder Emre Can as the Germany international continues ongoing talks surrounding a new deal at Anfield.
The 23-year-old, who joined the Reds in 2014 from Bundesliga outfit Bayer Leverkusen, currently has less than 12 months left on his current agreement, meaning he is able to enter negotiations for a free transfer with potential suitors in January.
This could come as a huge blow for manager Jurgen Klopp, who has begun to show more faith in his defensive-minded ball-winner - starring him for five out of the last six fixtures.
However, Barnes believes losing Can for nothing would not overly concern him, and that Liverpool should not cave in to Can's demands if they believe the German overvalues himself.
"It’s up to Emre Can [not signing a new deal]”, the former Reds winger told Express Sport.
"It’s all very well saying, ‘Give him what he wants to stay or he’s going to go to Real Madrid, Barcelona.' But that’s not going to happen. They don’t want Emre Can.
"People were saying Emre was not a particularly good player and now all of a sudden he’s Pele!
Once upon a time Emre Can was not particularly liked at Liverpool so why now all of a sudden are we saying, ‘Oh we have to keep Emre Can?’
"We want players to stay who want to stay at Liverpool. Obviously if he decides to leave I don’t think that Emre Can would necessarily find a better club than Liverpool.
"It’s not as if they will be losing one of the most important players if he decides not to re-sign his contract. Liverpool cannot be held to ransom by a player because they feel they deserve whatever money they want."
There had been speculation surrounding Can's future earlier this term, with Serie A giants Juventus reportedly keen on bringing the Anfield man to the Allianz Stadium this summer.
However, those links have since quieted, and Barnes may well be correct in that Can could end up somewhere far less desirable should he decide to leave Liverpool when his current deal expires.