Leicester City's star midfielder Youri Tielemans is keeping his options open despite the transfer window closing.
The 24-year-old former Anderlecht player has 45 caps for Belgium and has been at Leicester since 2019. His partnership with Wilfred Ndidi has been central to the success of Brendan Rodgers' side. That success has brought with it potential suitors for both players.
Tielemans has drawn attention from Liverpool and Barcelona amongst others.
With Harvey Barnes recently committing his long-term future to Leicester, the club are focused on retaining Tielemans now too.
But as Tielemans told Sky Sports, he's not in a rush to sign a new deal:
“I'm open to everything. The transfer market just closed. I just try to keep as much options open as I can. As long as I'm here I'm going to give everything for the club. I've already done so. I'm going to give even more.
The contract situation is just something that is going on in football so t's just a normal situation and there are talks going on. I'm not saying I'm going to sign but I'm not saying I'm not going to sign.”
When asked directly if he was keeping his options open, Tielemans emphatically answered with one word, "exactly."
"We will see..."
Youri Tielemans says he is "keeping his options open" as he continues to negotiate the terms of a new contract with #LCFC.
— Sky Sports News (@SkySportsNews) September 14, 2021
For Leicester fans this is obviously concerning news. But at the very least they can likely assume that Tielemans will stay through January until next summer.
Leicester haven't made a good start to the season. Tielemans' form has been a part of that but he's not stood out so negatively that they will have any concerns about his transfer value. He likely won't command a similar fee to that of Jack Grealish, but he won't come cheap either.
Tielemans was Leicester's record signing back in 2019 when he cost £35 million. As a proven Premier League player, with his prime years ahead of him and almost 50 international caps, he ticks every box to at least double that price tag in his next move.
He has two years left on his deal, meaning Tielemans will likely be able to force his way out next summer.
The challenge becomes finding a suitor with enough money to spend. Liverpool bought one player this summer and looked to replace Gini Wijnaldum with Harvey Eliott and Curtis Jones. Barcelona's financial issues are apparent by Lionel Messi's place in Paris.
So long as he continues to perform at a high level and Leicester continue to press for top four places, Tielemans' value will maintain for three or four more years. He certainly belongs in the Champions League and at the top level of international football.