Liverpool Reportedly Nearing Transfer of 'New Zlatan Ibrahimovic' Valmir Berisha

Nick Akerman@NakermanFeatured ColumnistDecember 5, 2013

SUNDERLAND, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 29:  Brendan Rodgers, manager of Liverpool looks on during the Barclays Premier League match between Sunderland and Liverpool at the Stadium of Light on September 29, 2013 in Sunderland, England.  (Photo by Matthew Lewis/Getty Images)
Matthew Lewis/Getty Images

Liverpool are closing in on the signing of 17-year-old Swedish sensation Valmir Berisha, according to reports.

David Maddock of the Mirror claims the exciting forward—dubbed "the next Zlatan Ibrahimovic," as noted in the article—is "close" to agreeing a deal amid "tentative" interest from Real Madrid, while the player also suggests a switch to England is best for his development:

The most important is the football education, I believe England would be the best option.

I have rejected clubs like Arsenal and Manchester United, who have invited me for trials.

There is Real Madrid now, the club of my dreams - I am keen to go there, but I think I will turn it down, unfortunately.

Berisha captured the attention of Brendan Rodgers and his scouting network during the Under-17 World Cup between Oct. 17 and Nov. 8, a tournament at which he finished top scorer with seven goals in as many games, per

Sweden were defeated 3-0 by eventual winners Nigeria in the semifinal. However, Berisha's stock rose considerably throughout the competition, forcing onlookers to compare him with Ibrahimovic.

Berisha isn't as physical as Zlatan, but his energy and eye for the spectacular were summed up when he notched an excellent hat-trick during the third-place playoff tie with Argentina.

His ability to outscore Nigeria's Kelechi Iheanacho—who played a telling role in his nation's ascension to the title—suggests he is a player who can excel even if his team aren't winning trophies, similar to Luis Suarez.

Liam Prenderville of the Mirror previously reported some of Europe's biggest clubs were in for the exciting prospect—a claim Berisha confirmed during an interview with Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet:

The clubs that have shown the biggest interest are Ajax, Milan, Liverpool, Sunderland, Tottenham and Celtic. I have got offers from everywhere, from England, Italy, Spain, Germany, Holland and Russia. There are some options.

They have all offered me contracts. But it is a matter of choosing the right one, that is the most important.

Berisha looks to have an intelligent head on his young shoulders and isn't willing to bow to the demands of those interested.

He holds the power in this situation, ensuring Rodgers may be forced to sweat until the youngster makes his decision.

The player's current club, Halmstads, have more than enough time to prepare for losing their impressive talent as the Swedish striker begins a journey that could see him reach Ibrahimovic-levels of success and self-confidence.