Lyon President Jean-Michel Aulas has denied that Nabil Fekir's move to Liverpool is imminent and says that the transfer will not be completed "before or during" the World Cup. However, despite the public claims, reports insist the Reds remain confident of an imminent deal.
France face the United States at Lyon's home stadium on Saturday before travelling out to Russia for the World Cup, where their campaign begins against Australia on 16 June.
Liverpool had hoped that a deal for attacking midfielder Fekir would be done and dusted by that point but Aulas claims (at least publicly) that talks have ground to a halt and will not reach their resolution until after the tournament.
"The transfer is at a standstill, there is no way forward," Aulas said, as quoted by Lyon's official website. "The transfer will certainly not close during the World Cup and I do not think there is any change before the World Cup."
Earlier reports on Thursday claimed that the deal could be done within 24 hours, with the purchase of Stoke's Xherdan Shaqiri also on the cards.
Meanwhile, Melissa Reddy claims that Liverpool are still hopeful of getting the Fekir deal done before the World Cup despite Aulas' hardline stance on the matter. His value is unlikely to increase so there is little point in waiting for a post-tournament bidding war.
Aulas claimed that Lyon "have not placed a base price on Fekir because we have not yet discussed that", but it is believed that he would cost Liverpool in the region of £60m.
The Shaqiri rumours are a newer development but are moving fast, with a £12m agreement potentially completed within the next few days.