Manchester City have ruled out the possibility of signing Romelu Lukaku in January - apparently paving the way for Liverpool to do so.
Reports in Belgium earlier this week had suggested City had finalised a deal for the Anderlecht striker, but these proved to be premature.
Now, City boss Roberto Mancini has revealed the club will not be moving for the 18-year-old during the transfer window - providing Liverpool and other potential suitors with the opportunity to swoop before the Citizens line-up a hefty summer offer.
“Lukaku is a good, young player,” said Mancini - as quoted by talkSPORT. “But at this moment – no [we are not signing him]. In the future maybe.”
Dubbed 'the next Didier Drogba' thanks to his imposing physique and frightful strength, Lukaku has been tipped to go on to great things; so it is no surprise that the likes of Liverpool, Chelsea and Spurs have been monitoring his progress.
Each of the aforementioned clubs have registered their interest in the Belgium international, but is has now emerged that Liverpool are the most likely to launch a January bid in order to solve their goalscoring problems.
Liverpool are known to be in the transfer market for attacking reinforcements and - although Lukaku represents a shrewd investment for the future - his scoring record in his fledgling career would suggest that he could make an instant impact at Anfield.
However, should Liverpool formalise their reported interest in the teenager, they will have to spend over £25 million for his signature.
“Our price will be around €30million [£25.2m]. We received one offer from an English club three days before the end of the August transfer period. It was €10m [£8.4m] immediately and €10m in one year," said Anderlecht chairman Herman van Holsbeeck.
"I think he will go to the Premier League. For him the team is in England. We know that Chelsea, Tottenham and Liverpool are interested."