Liverpool are facing a mountainous bill to sign AS Roma star Miralen Pjanic, who Brendan Rodgers has earmarked as a possible replacement for Steven Gerrard, reports The Mirror.
AS Roma chiefs will be well aware of what the new £5 billion TV deal means for Premier League clubs and are ready to demand a premium price for Pjanic as a result. They want £37 million for the playmaker - a fee that would surpass Liverpool's current transfer record.
Not only that, but the 24-year-old will demand his cut of the new windfall with wage demands in excess of £160,000-a-week believed to be required. A five-year contract for the Bosnian midfielder could therefore cost Liverpool close to £80 million to secure.
Unofficial transfer talks
Brendan Rodgers learnt of the huge fees it would take to secure Pjanic last week after the Liverpool manager travelled to Rome for a personal scouting mission. Rodgers is reported to have met with Roma director of football Walter Sabatini to enquire about Pjanic's availability.
Midfielder Radja Nainggolan and attacking midfielder Adem Ljajic were also mentioned in that meeting, according to the same report, but it is Pjanic who tops Rodgers' wish list. A mixture of ability and experience at the highest level has led Rodgers to believe that Pjanic is well placed to fill the void Gerrard is about to leave at Anfield.
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Gerrard has already agreed to join LA Galaxy when his Liverpool contract expires at the end of the season. The 34-year-old had wanted to extend his long association with the Merseyside outfit, but was left unconvinced by his future role in the squad.
Offering pay parity
Liverpool now face a battle getting Pjanic's value down. They currently value to player at around £20 million while his wage demands will also have to come down. Gerrard is the current highest earner at the club on £170,000-a-week and John W Henry will not want to offer parity to man with half the experience of the former England international.
But Roma tied Pjanic down to a long-term contract last summer shortly after rejecting a £25 million offer from PSG. They have no reason to cash in on their star man for any less than their evaluation.
Tread with caution
Liverpool must be careful when investing funds this summer with Rodgers still feeling the brunt of some rushed investment last time around. The Reds paid a premium for players like Dejan Lovren and Adam Lallana, who are both now considered squad members rather than key figures.
£37 million would beat Andy Carroll's club record fee of £35 million and the Bosnian would come with a bigger reputation than the then-Newcastle United striker did in 2011. However, translating form from Serie A to the Premier League has proven to be a difficult challenge in the past and committing so much money to someone with no experience in England is a significant risk.
Do Liverpool fans think Miralen Pjanic is the man to replace Steven Gerrard? If not, who should Brendan Rodgers be chasing? Give us your views in the comment box below!