Liverpool’s hopes of luring in-demand Roma star Miralem Pjanic have been thrown into doubt after reports the playmaker is prepared to snub their £160,000 a week offer – with Manchester United lurking as Louis Van Gaal looks to boost the creativity of his midfield.
Reds boss Brendan Rodgers flew to Rome last week with it widely reported he held discussions with the Serie A club about bringing the 24-year-old to Anfield in the summer.
Liverpool value the player at £20m while the Italians at nearer to £40m, which could prove prohibitive from the notoriously tough Serie A negotiators.
Steven Gerrard replacement
Liverpool see the midfielder as the perfect replacement for Steven Gerrard, who is set to leave the club for the MLS in the summer.
But with United, who have only lost one game in 19, looking set for Champions League qualification and Van Gaal ready for another summer splurge on players, the Reds could face the bitter pill of losing out on the player to their rivals.
Pjanic joined Roma in 2010 and after a slow start has gone on to become one of their key players with him renowned for his passing ability – like Gerrard – either from a deep or more advanced midfield position.
Liverpool fans will argue that no-one can replace Gerrard, who in his prime was also capable of swashbuckling runs, but Pjanic’s ability to control a game would nonetheless be a welcome addition at Anfield, if they do somehow manage to pull it off.