Liverpool are facing a major fight to keep Pedro Chirivella at the club after Real Madrid stepped up their attempts to sign him reports The Mail.
The report was shortly followed by one in the Daily Star, which claims the Bernabeu outfit are preparing a bid to tempt Liverpool into a sale. While both reports have contradicting information, it seems clear that Real Madrid president Florentino Perez has set his sights on the 17-year-old.
Chirivella is well regarded by Liverpool coaches and has impressed on the international stage as well. The midfielder is the captain of Spain U18's and has been compared to his compatriot Xabi Alonso in the same reports.
Liverpool stole Chirivella from Valencia a year ago for a bargain £200,000, beating off Real Madrid and Barcelona. While the latter is not allowed to make acquisitions in the next two windows, Real Madrid have retained their interest.
Chirivella has only impressed further since moving to Anfield and has played a prominent role in Liverpool's UEFA Youth League as a holding midfielder. Real Madrid scouts have kept a close eye on him and have told the club he is eligible to be part of an ambitious recruitment project.
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In their attempts to rival La Masia, Real Madrid are scouring the globe for the best young talent with seemingly no expense spared. They have recently signed Ajax forward Mink Peeters, 16, Marco Asensio from Real Mallorca and are pushing hard to sign Martin Odegaard of Stromsgodset.
The 15-year-old is one of the most coveted talents in world football at the moment having broken into the senior Norway squad at such a young age. Manchester United and Liverpool are just two of a host of clubs interested, but Real Madrid's offer of a five-year deal makes them favourite.
First team opportunities
Chirivella could be another great, but he will be aware that first team opportunities may be hard to come by at the Bernabeu. Meanwhile, Raheem Sterling stands as testament to Brendan Rodgers' commitment to developing youth.