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Liverpool Transfer News: Marko Grujic Likened to Steven Gerrard and Paul Pogba

Tom Sunderland@@TomSunderland_Featured ColumnistDecember 9, 2015

Grujic (left)
Grujic (left)Hannah Peters/Getty Images

Liverpool fans can afford to get excited about their potential capture of Serbian starlet Marko Grujic after the teenager was compared to Anfield legend Steven Gerrard and Paul Pogba.

The Liverpool Echo's James Pearce confirmed the Reds are in talks with the 19-year-old regarding a £5 million move in 2016, and Serbian journalist Vlastimir Stevanovic likened him to a certain Kop icon:

If I had to compare Marko Grujic to anyone in terms of style of playing, I’d compare him to our own Steven Gerrard. 

In Serbia they call him ‘the new Matic’ and in Italy they call him ‘the new Pogba’.

Zeljko Paunovic, the coach of the World Cup winning Serbian U19 national team, said the following about him: “He is good lad with great mentality.

“He’s not a born leader, but he’s not afraid to play big games. I think he is much more than a regular playmaker or attacking midfielder. He would be better suited as a winger or behind the striker. I think that he should play on the flanks and closer to goal.”

Grujic's statistics this season certainly suggest he's ready for a higher calling, scoring five goals and bagging six assists in 19 SuperLiga appearances for Red Star Belgrade in what's been a breakthrough campaign.

The rumour appears to have some substance, too, after Sky Sports' Pete O'Rourke reported Grujic has already held talks with the Reds:

Pete O'Rourke @SportsPeteO

Red Star Belgrade midfielder Marko Grujic has admitted he has held talks with Liverpool over a possible move to Anfield. #LFC

However, the playmaker told Serbian newspaper Blic he won't leave Red Star Belgrade hanging in the winter transfer window and will instead hold out for a switch next summer (h/t Metro's Will Giles):

I will do my best to show respect to the club [Red Star], the public and the supporters, but then I think I need to choose the best environment for myself in which I’ll get my chance and work with good coaches in good conditions. 

Maybe something will happen, but there’s no rush. I am certainly staying there [Red Star] until the end of the qualifiers for the Champions League. That works for Liverpool too. We had talks and I haven’t made any deal yet. I am still a Red Star player.

It's a rare show of maturity from one so young, considering Grujic risks losing a lot of the hype currently surrounding him by waiting until next summer, although he's also likely to receive better offers at that stage.

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Reds supporters will be pleased to hear the youngster speak specifically of their interest, but Sport Witness confirmed Inter and Chelsea could be among those suitors set to contend for the 2015 Under-20 World Cup winner:

Sport Witness @Sport_Witness

Grujic confirms Liverpool talks to Blic, having already confirmed Inter Milan and Chelsea talks. https://t.co/pjCATJmFis

One would be inclined to suggest Liverpool look a more appealing prospect than Chelsea as things stand. The Merseysiders are eighth in the Premier League—eight points and six places above the Blues—and enjoying a rejuvenation under Jurgen Klopp.

Club captain Jordan Henderson has been compared to Gerrard in the past, but while it's his leadership that most makes him a candidate, there's still a stark contrast in regards to ability.

Grujic (second right) celebrates victory at this year's Under-20 World Cup.
Grujic (second right) celebrates victory at this year's Under-20 World Cup.FIONA GOODALL/Getty Images

Talents like Gerrard and Pogba come around very rarely, but Grujic is gathering a considerable following in top-flight circles, and a fee of just £5 million makes him an enticing option with room for major profit.

Klopp missed the opportunity to work with Gerrard at the Anfield helm, but there's a chance the tactician will have his chance to unearth a star who could be seen as a successor to one of the club's all-time greats.

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