LIVERPOOL, England -- Liverpool are confident of closing in on a transfer for Nabil Fekir, a source has told ESPN FC, despite Lyon president Jean-Michel Aulas stating he was adamant no deal would be done before the World Cup and a denial from the French club on Friday.
Fekir is a prime target of Liverpool's this summer and the club are willing to offer Lyon €55 million plus up to another €5m in add-ons as they look to strengthen their options in the final third of the pitch.
A source said on Thursday that a fee has yet to be agreed, but discussions have taken a positive turn and there is optimism growing on Merseyside that Liverpool could secure a deal prior to France flying out to Russia.
Though on Friday, Lyon released a statement saying: "The information about Nabil Fekir's transfer is false. Olympique Lyonnais categorically deny the false information disseminated by numerous media on the subject of the transfer of Nabil Fekir to Liverpool.
"In this transfer window where the slightest rumour is often presented as reality, Olympique Lyonnais would like to point out only the information published on its official website can be believed."
Liverpool's pursuit of the France international involves dealing with Aulas, who is known to be an extremely tough negotiator, and said on Thursday in quotes published on Lyon's website that no deal for Fekir will be completed before or during the World Cup, in which the versatile attacking midfielder will be appearing. The Lyon chief also added that he had not determined the price tag of the 24-year-old.
Didier Deschamps' team play the United States in Lyon on Saturday in their final warm-up game before the finals.
Meanwhile, a source told ESPN FC on Wednesday that Liverpool were also monitoring the situation of Stoke City's Xherdan Shaqiri, who is expected to move this summer following the Potters' relegation from the Premier League.
New Stoke boss Gary Rowett said on Thursday that players would only leave the club if the deal was at the right price for those not committed to playing in the Championship.
"No player will leave the club that is contractually with the club unless the club feel it is a good deal and the right deal for them," he told a news conference. "That is the most important thing but on the flip side to that, if players say they want to leave, then I want to work with players that want to be at the club.
"I want to put players on the pitch next season that want to be in a different league and understand the challenges of that league. I want players who are committed to Stoke City and if players want to leave I will try and find the best solution to make that happen if that is the case."