Liverpool Transfer News: 'English Messi' Patrick Roberts Eyed, Jordan Ibe Latest

Nick AkermanFeatured ColumnistAugust 20, 2014

LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 05: Patrick Roberts of Fulham attacks during the FA Youth Cup Final: Second Leg match between Chelsea v Fulahm at Stamford Bridge on May 05, 2014 in London, England. (Photo by Charlie Crowhurst/Getty Images)
Charlie Crowhurst/Getty Images

Liverpool are looking to sign wonderkid Patrick Roberts from Fulham before loaning the 17-year-old back to Felix Magath's side for the rest of the season, according to reports.

Affectionately known as the "English Lionel Messi," per Metro, Roberts has allegedly attracted attention from the nation's major clubs, including Chelsea and Manchester United.

Greg Stobart of reports details which indicate Liverpool are ready to make the first major move for the talented youngster: "The Reds are eager to beat their Premier League rivals to one of the brightest young talents in English football and are preparing a formal bid." 

Stobart also outlines Roberts' versatility, the fact he is a "boyhood fan" of Liverpool and that his parents hail from Merseyside as important factors.

Roberts is an England youth international who is likely to begin drumming up further interest now that he has the chance to shine in the Championship. This is an excellent stage for the youngster to excel on; it's competitive, brutal and will challenge him throughout the season, meaning the 2014-15 campaign could be a breakout year.

A keen dribbler of the ball, Roberts is confident in his own ability. He often looks to beat opponents by keeping the possession close to his feet, but he is creative enough to look up and continue momentum by playing a pass.

An excellent run of performances along Fulham's journey to the FA Youth Cup final saw Roberts rewarded with his Premier League debut against Manchester City last season. His progression into the first team was accelerated by Fulham's relegation, but Roberts is more than capable of taking his opportunity.

LONDON, ENGLAND - APRIL 07: Patrick Roberts of Fulham U18 and Harry Cardwell of Reading U18 chase the ball during the FA Youth Cup Semi Final second leg match at Craven Cottage on April 7, 2014 in London, England. (Photo by Tom Dulat/Getty Images)
Tom Dulat/Getty Images

Brendan Rodgers has proven a shrewd developer of young talent while at Liverpool. His decision to provide Raheem Sterling with a consistent starting role allowed the forward to play a major role in the Reds' ascension to second last season.

Rodgers has also helped improve Philippe Coutinho's game and has invested heavily in youth across the summer with the signings of Lazar Markovic, Divock Origi, Javier Manquillo and Alberto Moreno.

The manager is keen to see some of his current squad gain experience away from the club. Jordan Ibe appeared in the first team during pre-season, but he is likely to spend the campaign on loan with Bolton Wanderers, as reported by Alan Nixon of the Daily Mirror.

Markovic's appearance at Anfield is likely to stand as an obstacle to Ibe's immediate future. The Serbian youngster is expected to rack up plenty of appearances across the season and recently confirmed he doesn't "have any fear or stage fright whatsoever," per James Pearce of the Liverpool Echo. He is a more experienced winger and will slot in ahead of Ibe in the pecking order.

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - JULY 24:  Jordan Ibe (L) of Liverpool and Scott Galloway of the Victory contest for the ball during the match between the Melbourne Victory and Liverpool at Melbourne Cricket Ground on July 24, 2013 in Melbourne, Australia.  (Photo
Michael Dodge/Getty Images

Ibe, like Roberts, is at the stage of his career when he needs to be playing in a senior team. The 18-year-old winger possesses great pace and an eye for goal, while he also flaunts the confidence to burst around more established opposition. Similar to Sterling, he can be pushed centrally if needed and is expected to quickly develop into a useful asset of Liverpool's first team.

Rodgers is obviously looking to ensure his squad has access to players who can significantly impact Liverpool's future. His mixture of signings highlight a manager who craves both an immediate result and long-term success.

Roberts could develop into a Kop favourite if he maintains his current rate of progression, suggesting Rodgers will want to get this deal sorted before another club snaps up the potential star.