Liverpool are stepping up their chase for Fulham wonderkid Patrick Roberts and are desperate to beat Premier League rivals Chelsea and Arsenal to one of the most highly-rated youngsters in England.
The Anfield club, according to the Daily Mirror, have been keeping a close eye on the 17-year-old who has made a name for himself in he Championship with the Cottagers this season, impressing many despite the teams troubles on the pitch.
However, Brendan Rodgers will have to fight off his counterparts at Emirates Stadium and Stamford Bridge, as the pair have also been credited with an ambition to recruit the young winger. The report claims that Liverpool have sent scouts to watch him three times already this season.
Roberts stayed on the bench for Fulham's 3-1 win over Huddersfield on Saturday, but he has already shown he is a player of great promise after being given his debt by the now departed Felix Magath.
Arsenal's interest in him is unsurprising as the Gunners are famed for splashing out on talented youngsters, as well as giving them an opportunity in the first team. Although at the current moment in time fans of the north London club may want something a little more immediate.
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Sunday night saw them throw away a lead twice in a week as they were beaten 2-1 by Swansea City at the Liberty Stadium. It was a dismal collapse and laid bare the issues Wenger currently has in defence and defensive midfield, so a speedy winger who won't be ready for the first team for a couple of seasons is unlikely to inspire disgruntled Gooners.
the report would suggest that Liverpool are in the driving seat for his signature
Chelsea have begun to emulate Arsenal's transfer strategy in the last couple of years, with promising teenagers becoming as important purchases as more established stars. Roberts would fit the mould of this and would not have to move too far from the Blues to their west London rivals.
Reds in the Lead
Despite this interest, the report would suggest that Liverpool are in the driving seat for his signature, even though Fulham are desperate to hang on to one of the most exciting prospects to emerge from their academy in recent years.
However, it does say that the Cottagers may be convinced to enter a transfer as long as Roberts is loaned back to them for at the least the remainder of the season. Any approach by Liverpool, Arsenal or Chelsea will be difficult for Fulham to resist anyway, as Roberts has only two years left on his contract at Craven Cottage.