Saint-Etienne are bracing themselves for a bid from Liverpool for their captain Blaise Matuidi following the arrival of Damien Comolli at Anfield.
Former Spurs director Comolli, who will head up Liverpool's transfer policy after being appointed as director of football strategy, rates the all action midfielder very highly.
Arsenal are also thought to be tracking the France international, but the arrival of Comolli - from Saint-Etienne - has given Liverpool the upper hand in prising one of France's most promising prospects away from Ligue 1.
Italian giants Juventus are also monitoring the situation and have been linked with Matuidi as they look to bolster their midfield, but a move to England is more likely for the France star.
Matuidi said last month after being asked about the Juventus links, "It is nice to know a club like Juventus is following you or asking about you. (But) the league that would suit me best is the Premier League.
"This is due to tactical, cultural and physical reasons, and the atmosphere in the stadiums."
Comolli, who quit Saint-Etienne on Tuesday before sealing his move to Liverpool, fought hard to keep Matuidi at the French club during his tenure but admitted that eventually he would join a big club.
"He is our captain and a major player for us," he was quoted as saying last month. "He's done well for us last season but we convinced him to stay.
"But i'm not being naive, I know it will be difficult to keep him and know he will end up in England or one of the top clubs in Europe. Whoever comes in for him, it will cost them a lot of money."
Liverpool are ready to spend in January and Matuidi fits the profile of being a young, emerging talent. He would definitely bring a physical edge to the Liverpool midfield and the player who has been earmarked by France boss Laurent Blanc as the saviour of Les Bleus is now a full international after playing in France's 2-0 win against Bosnia and Herzegovina last month.
New Liverpool owner John W Henry has demanded that the club be smarter in the transfer market and improve the stock of young players coming through in the way that Manchester United and Arsenal have in recent years. The signing of Matuidi would represent a major coup by Liverpool as the player is wanted by many side across Europe.
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