Borussia Monchengladbach's sporting director has spoken about the transfer interest in his club's midfield star Manu Kone.
22-year-old Kone had been tipped for a summer exit from Gladbach, with reports linking him with Liverpool as part of the Reds' much-discussed summer rebuild.
However, a knee injury sustained during the Under-21 European Championships this summer, combined with a change in focus from Liverpool brought about by the imminent departures of Fabinho and Jordan Henderson mean those links have cooled.
Most recent reports suggest the Reds are now on the hunt for a traditional 'number six' to fill the void soon to be left by Fabinho, with Romeo Lavia and Cheick Doucoure among the most talked about in the media.
However, links to Kone have not completely dissipated.
German transfer reporter Christian Falk is among those to suggest a move could still be on the cards for the French midfielder, noting: "He’s [Kone's] on the list of Liverpool. You know, [Jorg] Schmadtke has had an eye on him for six months.”
Intriguingly, the sporting director at Gladbach is Nils Schmadtke — son of Liverpool sporting director Jorg.
The Reds' transfer chief admitted earlier this week that he could use his connections in Germany for further business this summer — sparking talk of a return to Kone as a target.
He told Sky reporters: “Of course, there are always players in Germany who are attractive. Then my experience in the market is in demand. Because, of course, I know a little bit about how the other side is paid and how the other side proceeds in negotiations. The German market is my home market and of course easier for me. But it’s not like we’ve now pointed all our telescopes at Germany.”
Now, the Rheinische Post in Germany have given an update on the injury Kone sustained earlier this month. The midfielder is due to continue his rehabilitation with Gladbach and will travel to their pre-season training camp in Tegernsee.
The story also carries quotes from Nils Schmadtke, regarding speculation over Kone's future.
"The focus is on him getting fit, everything else is far away," Schmadtke said.
Kone is widely rated at between €30-40m (£25-35m), while his knee injury is expected to keep him out of action for six weeks.