Liverpool have been quoted £24 million to sign Manchester United striker target Keita Balde Diao after Lazio ordered the Merseyside club to improve their £15.8 million opening offer by more than £8 million.
The London Metro reports how the Reds opened talks with the talented teenager earlier this week, and hope to conclude a deal before the close of the transfer window.
Red Devils boss Louis van Gaal has been credited with an interest in bringing the 19-year-old to Old Trafford, but faces a race against time to secure his signature after Liverpool moved closer to an agreement.
The Barcelona academy product is tipped for a bright future in the game after netting a staggering 47 goals in a single season whilst out on loan at Spanish side UE Cornella in 2010/11.
That summer the Spanish prodigy earned a £300,000 switch to Serie 'A', and has gone on to establish a glowing reputation in Italy, despite only netting five goals in 23 appearances for Lazio last season.
Manchester United must now decide quickly if they are serious about signing Keita, before he formally pens a long-term deal with rival suitors Liverpool.
Brendan Rodgers is keen to lure the youngster to Anfield as he continues building for the long-term future following the summer departure of Luis Suarez to Barcelona.
The Reds have already signed six new players so far this summer, and are closing in on number seven after getting the green light from Lazio to proceed with plans to land Keita.
Manchester City have also been previously linked with the emerging young talent, but those transfer rumours seem to have gone cold, leaving a two-way fight between Manchester United and Liverpool.