Liverpool tipped to swoop for £5m Ferguson prodigy

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Liverpool are preparing a bid for Preston teenager Adam Barton, according to The Mirror.

The 19-year-old Northern Irishman is hot property after a string of impressive performances for the Championship side and now - reports The Mirror - he could be set to leave Deepdale in January.

Barton was given his chance in the first team by former Preston boss Darren Ferguson and the midfielder's commanding debut led his manager to wax lyrical - something the starlet was overwhelmed by.

"The family rang me up saying about what the Gaffer said and I am just over the moon with that," Barton said at the time. "To play 45 minutes and to be seen as effective was something brilliant for my debut."

With Barton seemingly gathering admirers on a weekly basis, Liverpool are thought to be leading the chase for the youngster, although the Anfield club are reportedly trying to convince Preston to lower their £5 million asking price.

New Liverpool owners NESV have identified the development of young players at their Academy as a priority - tasking director of football strategy Damien Comolli with bringing teenage stars to Anfield.

Comolli is renowned for having an eye for talent in its infancy - something which Liverpool Academy director Frank McParland paid testament to.

"His [Comolli's] philosophy is to bring through young talent and he's since told me that we will be seeing a lot of him here at the Academy," he told the official Liverpool website.

"That can only be good news for us. He has a strong interest in young, elite players and we are already in the process of looking to sign some very talented teenagers.

"He has a great network in Europe and when you combine that with what we already have in place here, it promises to be very exciting times for us."

Liverpool have also been linked with Southampton starlet Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Lille sensation Eden Hazard as they step up their pursuit of young talent.

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