Liverpool have been told they have until Saturday to meet Ajax's £21.5m asking price for striker Luis Suarez or they can forget about a deal.
The Ajax manager Frank de Boer imposed the deadline in Amsterdam yesterday in an attempt to bring the on-going situation to a swift resolution. Suarez is though to favour a move to England but he has two and a half years left on his contract and Ajax are refusing to budge from their valuation of £21.5m.
De Boer said: "This situation has been going on long enough. We don't want to lose him. Liverpool know what they have to pay and we are sticking to our guns. We want to know by 29 January, after that nothing more will happen. Within two days we want security, otherwise it takes too long. By 29 January we want to know where we stand. He [Suarez] scores, makes assists and we cannot simply replace him. If Liverpool wants something, it must be fast."
De Boer added, part in jest, that the price will rise every day from Saturday if a deal is not struck by then. "We'll add €5m [£4.3m] per day to our asking price from Saturday on until the end of the transfer window."
De Boer also admitted that Suarez had told him of his affection for Liverpool, but insisted he had not asked for a transfer.
Suarez, who was a key member of the Uruguay team that finished third at last year's World Cup in South Africa, is thought to be at the top of Liverpool director of football Damien Comolli's list of targets this month, as the Anfield club are convinced of the need to provide some support to Fernando Torres. Comolli believes Suarez could be the perfect foil for Torres, with an impressive record of scoring 81 goals in 108 games in the Dutch league. Liverpool have already had a £12.7m bid turned down. An Ajax spokesman said on Tuesday: "We'll have to wait for them to come back with something more respectful."
Liverpool also face losing out on Blackpool midfielder Charlie Adam after their £4m bid was rejected. Adam has put in a transfer request but Blackpool manager Ian Holloway is not worried about keeping a potentially disgruntled player in his squad.
"Charlie will have to accept whatever we do," Holloway said. "In the summer he will have 12 months left on his contract. That is a whole new ball park. I'll speak to the owners and let them know how Charlie feels but we have a duty to the fans to run the club professionally."