A Liverpool official was at the 1-1 draw between Croatia and Italy on Friday night so that he could talk with Inter Milan star Mateo Kovacic, reports Italian publication tuttomercatoweb.
The Reds have apparently already made an offer for the 21-year-old that includes £16.6m up front and another £1.4m in possible bonuses. They are now looking to agree a deal with the player, who was taking part in the Euro 2016 qualifier at the Stadion Poljud in Split.
With Anfield legend Steven Gerrard leaving for MLS side LA Galaxy after 17 years with the team, manager Brendan Rodgers is likely looking for a replacement for the talismanic midfielder. Kovacic could be just that, with the Croatian impressing for the Nerazzurri during what in general was a poor campaign last season.
The youngster managed five goals and three assists in 35 Serie A games, and his all round game will also appeal to the Merseyside club. He has played in both deep lying and more advanced roles in central midfield, much like Gerrard has. Also a great passer of the ball and able to take on a man, the resemblances continue and he could well be the perfect replacement.
Liverpool have already been active this summer, bringing in James Milner, Danny Ings and Adam Bogdan, but the club’s fans will likely be more pleased to see a player of Kovacic’s quality make his way to Anfield, with the starlet looking a genuine top talent for the future, and one who will inevitably draw comparisons with current Reds star Philippe Coutinho, who also joined the club from Inter as a promising youngster.