Liverpool are unlikely to succeed in their attempts to sign Inter Milan striker Mauro Icardi for £16 million after it emerged that the Italian giants want a whopping £28 million for the 21-year-old Argentine.
Reds boss Brendan Rodgers has identified Icardi, who scored nine goals in 22 appearances for the Nerazzurri last season, as a potential replacement for the departed Luis Suarez.
However, the Northern Irishman will need to up his offer in order to tempt Inter into selling one of their most talented young stars.
Liverpool leading Chelsea & Man City in Icardi race
The Express go on to claim that, as things stand, Liverpool are currently ahead of Premier League rivals Chelsea and Manchester City in the race to sign the one-time Argentina international.
The Merseyside outfit are desperate to land another striker after agreeing to sell Suarez to Barcelona for £75 million earlier this summer - and have the necessary funds to finance a deal.
That Liverpool are competing in next season’s Champions League campaign may prove tempting for Icardi - although both Chelsea and Man City could offer more the South American a move lucrative contract should they step up their interest.
Mauro Icardi: What’s all the fuss about?
Icardi was snapped up during his teenage years by Sampdoria, following three years in Barcelona’s famed youth academy.
He went on to make his professional debut with Sampdoria, scoring 11 goals in 33 appearances in his first campaign in Serie A, before securing a move to Inter, who acquired the player’s rights in full back in June, last summer.
Icardi is a smart striker, blessed with pace and power, and possesses all of the required attributes to excel in the Premier League. Despite his height - the striker measures in at a modest 5ft 11in - he is also good in the air.
Watch: Mauro Icardi in action
But, like Suarez, Icardi has never been too far away from controversy during his career so far.
His relationship with Argentine media personality, Wanda Nara, has been a huge story in Italy over the past couple of years.
Nara was previously married to Icardi’s former teammate Maxi Lopez - but Icardi appeared to relish the additional media attention placed on his shoulders.
Argentina legend Diego Maradona even labelled the striker a “traitor” and said he deserved beating up for his punishment.
“He goes to Maxi Lopez’s house, plays like he’s his friend and then steals his wife,” Maradona told reporters last December. “In my day you know what we would’ve done to someone like that? We’d have put him in the middle of a circle and taken turns to beat him up.”
So, if Rodgers wants to help Liverpool steer away from controversy following the departure of Suarez, he might be best off ending his pursuit of the talented but troublesome Icardi.