Controversial striker Luis Suarez was seemingly inching closer towards a move from Liverpool to Barcelona after reports in the British press yesterday said talks between the clubs were ongoing.
Several media organisations said discussions had started in London, with Britain's Press Association news agency quoting a Liverpool source as saying: "The talks were productive, with sensible expectations on both sides. Further talks and discussions will take place in due course. Nothing is finalised as of now."
The BBC and Sky Sports television reported a similar outcome.
Barcelona stoked the speculation of a transfer by heaping more praise on Suarez on Wednesday after the Uruguay forward apologised for biting Italian Girgio Chiellini in a World Cup match, but refused to comment on rumours of a possible signing.
The Spanish giants appear to be leading the race among clubs linked with the 27-year-old Uruguayan, who was expelled from the World Cup and handed a nine-match competitive international ban as well as a four-month sanction from any soccer activity for biting Chiellini.
Yesterday, as expected, Uruguay lodged an appeal against the four-month ban.
The meeting between Liverpool officials and a delegation led by Raul Sanllehi, Barcelona's director of football management, had been scheduled to discuss the future of last season's Premier League top scorer.
To prise Suarez away from Liverpool, the Spanish club will either need to meet a release clause, reportedly around £70 million to £80 million (HK$1 billion) in his revised contract or offer a player-plus-cash deal.
Should the Merseysiders opt for the latter agreement, Barcelona's Chilean striker Alexis Sanchez - a Liverpool target in the past - appears to be the Anfield side's preferred choice as Suarez's replacement.
Reuters, Agence France-Presse