Bayern Munich are believed to have infuriated Schalke over the pursuit of Leon Goretzka, leaving Liverpool as a viable option for the midfielder.
Bayern confirmed their interest in the Germany international this week after sporting director Hasan Salihamidzic admitted the 22-year-old was on their shopping list.
However, Schalke chief Christian Heidel has revealed his disgust at the manner in which Bayern have approached Goretzka, who is out of contract in the summer.
“Leon Goretzka is a great player, that’s clear,” said Salihamidzic. “He is a Schalke player and we obviously respect that.
“But he is a Germany international and we can say that we are interested in him.”
That has infuriated Schalke’s Heidel, who said: “Bayern say Leon is a player of Schalke, but then talk more about a player of Schalke than about their own!” Heidel said.
“As a result, they [the transfer rumours] are fuelled again and again.
“We do not have to hear every day from the people of Munich how good the player is!”
The Bundesliga champions are aiming to tie Goretzka to a pre-contract to enable them to land the player for free in the summer.
The Daily Express claim now that “Liverpool could now have the upper hand in negotiations”.
The Reds signed Joel Matip on a pre-contract agreement in February 2016 and they are believed to have a good working relationship with the Bundesliga side.
Liverpool have been linked with a move for the player, but Arsenal, Manchester United, Barcelona, Real Madrid and Juventus have all been mentioned as possible desinations for the midfielder.
Goretzka, who has made 12 appearances this season for Schalke, scoring four goals and providing one assist, is in Benidorm with the rest of the squad for their winter training camp.