Liverpool have raced into the lead of favourites to land Norwegian prodigy Martin Odegaard, after the teenager was spotted dining in the city with Reds player Philippe Coutinho.
The Telegraph reports that the 15-year-old Manchester United and Real Madrid target was shown around the Anfield club's training complex on Wednesday and subsequently spotted by fans and photographed on social media.
The attacking midfielder became the youngest player to ever appear in the European Championship in October, per The Telegraph, which generated further interest in his talents.
And Odegaard recently spoke to Bild about his affections for the Merseyside team, describing them as his "dream club," as reported by The Telegraph:
Liverpool have always been my dream club. But I will not let this affect my decision when I choose a new club. It’s all about finding the team that is best for me and for my development. That is not necessarily Liverpool.
I haven’t really thought about my future yet. I will end the season here and then visit a number of clubs. I have not made a final decision yet, though. Of course, it’s flattering when you hear that big clubs are after you, but I don’t think about it too often.
A picture reported to be of the player eating out in Liverpool with his father and Coutinho was posted by 101 Great Goals:
Of course, Odegaard is still extremely young, but he is already a full international and features in Stromsgodset's first team.
The top teams in Europe are circling for his signature, so if Brendan Rodgers captures him it would be a major coup for the coach.
Alex Harris of the Daily Star recently reported that Barcelona had entered the race and invited the player to tour their facilities. Harris quotes Odegaard's father, Hans Erik, confirming the vast interest in his son's future availability:
"I can't name the clubs, but almost regardless of who you name, they have been in contact with us."
Odegaard has had lavish praise laid at his doorstep and been compared to some of the world's greatest players. Matt Barlow of the Daily Mail describes Odegaard as being similar in style and potential to Lionel Messi:
The ball sticks to him, the fans adore him, team-mates trust him and his boss David Nielsen likens him to Lionel Messi.
Everyone agrees Norwegian football has never known anything quite like it.
Odegaard has already featured for Stromsgodset 24 times during his short career, scoring five times from his attacking-midfield berth, per Transfermarkt.co.uk.
The Reds have done a fine job in developing the talent of Raheem Sterling, and Odegaard and his family will surely see this as a huge positive.
Liverpool are looking for their next superstar, and Odegaard could be that player. He has already developed to a level way beyond his years, but it is questionable whether he will be ready for the physical nature of the Premier League in the near future.
But as Messi proved, if you are good enough, age means little.
If the Norway star treads in the same footsteps as the Argentine wizard, Liverpool could soon have a global phenomenon on their hands.