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In Marko Grujic, Liverpool land “new Gerrard”


Liverpool have ended their search for the “new Steven Gerrard”. The Merseyside club are expected to finalise the signing of Red Star Belgrade midfielder Marko Grujic for 5 million pounds “in the next three days”.

On Serbian national television, Zvezdan Terzic, Red Star’s sporting director, said: “We will in the next three days sign a contract with Liverpool. It was a record transfer. Marko Grujic will sign a five-year contract with Liverpool where he will have a €1,200,000 annual net income, which means that he will have six million from Liverpool.”

Then, he added: “He’ll get 8 on the back.”

Liverpool have not given the iconic No. 8 shirt to anyone since Steven Gerrard left the club at the end of last season. But that looks to change with the arrival of the 19-year-old playmaker.

Inter Milan were reportedly extremely interested in the highly rated youngster, but a last-minute phone call from Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp secured the Serb’s signature.

Who is Marko Grujic?

Grujic is 19 years old. He is 6 foot 3. A midfielder, Grujic was in Serbia’s winning squad in the U-20 FIFA World Cup. While he didn’t star for the Serbs, he played five games. He also scored in the penalty shootout against USA in the quarterfinal.

In the current season of the Serbian first division, Red Star Belgrade are running away with the title, having opened up a 25-point gap at the top, and Grujic has contributed to the campaign with five goals from midfield.

Liverpool Echo‘s James Pearce spoke to a Serbian football expert who has seen Grujic in action up close. Vlastimir Stevanovic, incidentally a Liverpool fan, says: “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’.

“He can play offensively, but he would also be great at playing a deeper role, much like Pogba, which is actually how he plays at Red Star. He is very tall and strong so he’s great at aerial duels. He has excellent vision, a great passing game and he possesses great game intelligence.”

Stevanovic says big clubs have had their eyes on the player for a long time. But it was Liverpool’s close tracking of the lad, and personal calls from Jurgen Klopp that have worked in their favour.

“Dejan Stankovic, who is a Red Star legend, is working as a scout for Inter, and he is lobbying heavily for Inter. Chelsea are using Nemanja Matic as bait. However, the prospect of working under Klopp and [Željko] Buvac [assistant manager at Liverpool] is very attractive to the young player. Buvac probably knows him well, and it’s been confirmed by the media that Klopp has called Grujic a couple of times to express his desire to bring him to LFC. Apparently, LFC have been following the Red Star ace since he was 11.”

Grujic will reportedly sign for Liverpool, but play out the rest of the season for the Belgrade side on loan. He will don the Reds shirt in the summer.

And here’s a clip of what the Kop should expect once the teenager does arrive in England:

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