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Exclusive: Liverpool Face Battle With Serie A Giants To Capture Departing Barcelona Defender In January

Full back will be available for a cut-price fee this month with his contract set to expire in June. 

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Liverpool are understood to be one of a number of big-name clubs from across the Continent vying to sign coveted FC Barcelona right-back Martin Montoya now that the Spaniard has finally decided to leave the Liga champions in the January transfer window.

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The former Spain Under-23 international has been waiting patiently behind first-choice Dani Alves at Camp Nou for the past four years now in the hope of being handed an extended run in the Barca first team.

However, dislodging the brilliant Brazil international has proved impossible for Montoya, who was hoping that yet another change of coach in Catalunya last summer may hand him an opportunity to stake his claim for a regular starting place ahead of Alves.

But new Barcelona boss Tata Martino has once again placed his trust in the more experienced Brazilian and now, despite featuring in 14 matches in total in all competitions so far this season, Montoya has finally decided that enough is enough and asked his agent to start the process of finding him a new club in this month’s transfer window.

And the 22-year-old has by all accounts not been short of offers either in January, with the likes of Serie A high-flyers AS Roma and in-form Napoli both joining the Reds in expressing their wish to sign Montoya.

The Merseysiders have of course themselves been heavily linked with the Spaniard in recent weeks after managing director Ian Ayre was photographed in Barcelona airport last month.

However, both clubs have since denied that Ayre was in Catalunya to discuss the purchase of Montoya, although Liverpool are nonetheless still believed to be interested in the right-sided full back as manager Brendan Rodgers continues his impressive rebuilding project at Anfield.

The Northern Irishman has already made it clear in public that he wants to add further to the club’s under-strength squad in January, although equally Rodgers has been quick to point out that the Reds are only interested in quality new recruits who can come straight in and improve the first team, with Montoya certainly fitting that description.

But the problem for Rodgers and the Reds is that they face a tough task now trying to convince the defender that his future lies on Merseyside, and not Rome or Naples, both destinations that currently look certain to be hosting Uefa Champions League football next season, something Liverpool cannot guarantee Montoya at present.