Liverpool are battling it out with Inter Milan for the signature of highly-rated Red Star Belgrade midfielder Marko Grujic.
The ECHO understands that the Reds held productive talks with the Serbia U21s international last weekend over a potential £5million move to Anfield.
However, Serie A outfit Inter have a long-standing interest in the 19-year-old and are also keen to secure his services.
Reds boss Jurgen Klopp is a big admirer of Grujic, who is currently weighing up his options.
His progress has also been closely monitored by Reds assistant manager and fellow countryman Zeljko Buvac.
The teenager has been tracked by a number of top European clubs this season including Roma and Chelsea but Liverpool and Inter Milan currently lead the chase.
Cash-strapped Serbian Super League leaders Red Star are resigned to selling their big asset but Grujic won't move in January as he wants to stay in his homeland until the end of the season to help them clinch the title.
Liverpool had representatives in Serbia to watch Grujic score in Red Star’s 7-2 thrashing of Cukaricki on Sunday and they were granted permission to hold talks with him after the game.
Asked about his future, Grujic said: “I’ll try to respect the club, the fans and the general public, but again I think that for myself I have to choose the best environment where I get the chance to play and where I work with good coaches in good conditions.
“It is certain that I remain here until the end of qualifying for the Champions League. I had a talk with Liverpool but I did not receive yet any agreement. I’m still a Red Star player.”
Grujic came up through the ranks at Red Star’s youth academy and made his first-team debut at the age of 17 in May 2013.
He has since gone on to become a firm fans’ favourite and has helped Red Star build a commanding 19-point lead at the top of the table this season.
Grujic, who has scored five goals for Red Star so far this term and is under contract until 2018, was part of the Serbia squad who won the FIFA U20 World Cup in New Zealand back in June.
Source: Liverpool Echo
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