Liverpool intend to keep Emre Can this summer, even as the Germany midfielder enters the final 12 months of his contract at Anfield.
Can has yet to commit to a long-term deal with Liverpool, despite several months of negotiations, and could leave on a free transfer when his contract expires in 2018. Liverpool, however, have no plans to sell the 23-year-old in the absence of a contract extension, believing his worth to Jürgen Klopp’s team next season is greater than the cost of buying a replacement.
Can is in a similar position to Everton’s Ross Barkley, who also has 14 months remaining on his contract. In contrast to Ronald Koeman, who has told Barkley to make a decision by the end of the season or be sold, Liverpool’s manager is willing to bide his time in the hope of finding a resolution with Can.
The former Bayern Munich academy player, who signed a four-year deal at Liverpool when he joined from Bayer Leverkusen for £9.75m in 2014, has claimed his role in Klopp’s team is behind the contract delay and not financial demands of £100,000 a week.
Can prefers a deeper midfield role to the more advanced position that, with its increased number of sprints, he blamed on the persistent calf problem that plagued him throughout the first half of this season. He has been in commanding form in recent weeks as Liverpool attempt to secure qualification for next season’s Champions League.
The prospect of Champions League football plus the nature of Can’s contract problem offers Klopp hope the midfielder will eventually follow the example of Philippe Coutinho and Adam Lallana in signing a new deal. Liverpool’s resolve to keep Can may yet be tested by a substantial offer in the close season.