Liverpool's attempts to sign Luis Suarez from Ajax hit another setback last night as a second bid for the striker, believed to value him at around €20m (£17m) was rejected by the Dutch side, who continue to insist they will not sell for anything less than €25m.
On a day when the club also encountered difficulties in their attempts to secure a loan deal for Aston Villa's Stephen Warnock – compounding what is proving to be a frustrating transfer window for them – the club had hoped that this €5m increase on their first bid for the Uruguyan might seal a landmark first signature for their manager Kenny Dalglish.
Suarez was in the stands in Amsterdam for Ajax's 4-1 win in a Dutch cup tie with NAC Breda. There had been some suggestions that he might not turn up, in protest at the club's refusal to negotiate down on price. But Liverpool appear now to have only 24 hours to match the asking price or proceed through the season without the 25-year-old. The Ajax board have set a deadline of tomorrow for the sale to take place.
It remains to be seen if Suarez will take his determination to leave for Liverpool as far he did to secure a move to the Amsterdam club, three years ago. The Dutch club Groningen were unwilling to release him to Ajax at that time, so he refused to appear for them and was released. Since last night's match was the final game of Suarez's suspension for biting Eindhoven player Otman Bakkal, he is eligible to play on Sunday, when Ajaz face Breda again in the league.
Meanwhile, problems in agreeing a deal satisfactory to Villa has thrown Warnock's arrival into doubt. If he doesn't arrive, then Dalglish may be forced to abandon thought of allowing Konchesky to leave for Fulham on another loan deal. Blackpool had received no new offer from Liverpool for Charlie Adam as of yesterday afternoon.