This story has been reproduced from today's media. It does not necessarily represent the position of Liverpool Football Club.
Tottenham Hotspur have emerged as the frontrunner to sign German wunderkind Lewis Holtby.
The 22-year-old Schalke midfielder is eligible to sign a pre-contract agreement with another club from today and Spurs have reportedly jumped ahead of Arsenal and Liverpool in the queue of English suitors.
Holtby and his representatives have already informed Schalke he will be leaving at the end of the season, with the Premier League the likely destination given the player's English heritage.
His father, Chris, is a former British soldier from Liverpool who was stationed at RAF Rheindahlen, near Monchengladbach.
Holtby, a childhood Everton fan, was eligible to play for England but opted for the country of his birth and has three caps.
Widely admired for his passing vision and energy, Holtby is likely to be made one of Tottenham's highest earners. Schalke's final offer was a new contract of just under £50,000 a week.
He would be a key addition to the midfield as Andre Villas-Boas continues the re-building process following the departures of Luka Modric and Rafael van der Vaart last summer.
The head coach was frustrated when a deal to bring in Joao Moutinho, the Porto player, collapsed back in August.
But the acquisition of the highly-regarded Holtby would be an excellent substitute.