Manchester City have emerged as overwhelming favourites to secure the signature of Raheem Sterling and will bid for the England star when the transfer window opens.
The Liverpool youngster has gone head-to-head with the club's hierarchy and wants to leave Anfield this summer despite having two years still to run on his contract in Merseyside.
Reds manager Brendan Rodgers continues to insist that Sterling is going nowhere - but City are increasingly confident of prising the 20-year-old away.
His agent, Aidy Ward, gave a controversial interview to the London Evening Standard on Thursday in which he said his client would not sign a new deal 'for £900,000-a-week'.
Fenway Sports Group, Liverpool's owners, are adamant they will not be bullied into a rash decision and imminently cancelled a meeting scheduled for Friday between Ward, Rodgers and chief executive Ian Ayre.
Rodgers said: "The ownership have shown strength in their time here. They have done an incredible job to stabilise the club. In this situation, they will show that strength and power to the club.
"The simple fact is Raheem has two years left on his contract."
City boss Manuel Pellegrini has done little to refute the speculation in recent weeks and it has been suggested that Sterling would be offered £145,000-a-week at the Etihad.
With both the transfer fee and wages (over five years) likely to take the package beyond £80m, it is unlikely that Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger will follow through on his interest with a concrete offer.
Pellegrini said: '"I don't know what happens with Sterling. There are a lot of very important players that maybe all the teams are wanting. We finish the season tomorrow. After that we'll see what we need and which players can come here.
"There won't be major surgery because I don't think we need it. We will try every year to have a stronger squad, not because we lost the title this year but because it's important to make changes every year."Reuse content