Liverpool tipped for transfer battle with Atletico Madrid over Morocco star

Liverpool are among the top contenders vying to sign Genk rising star Bilal El Khannouss.

The 19-year-old attacking midfielder was born in Belgium but is a Morocco international, having made his national team debut in the World Cup 2022 third-place playoff defeat to Croatia.

El Khannouss was awarded the Belgian Golden Shoe for the best young talent playing in the country back in 2022, while he was nominated for the prestigious Golden Boy award (eventually won by Jude Bellingham) last year.

According to Het Laatste Nieuws (via Sport Witness), Liverpool are eyeing up El Khannouss, having sent scouts to watch the teenager in action this season.

However, the Reds face competition from both Atletico Madrid and Bayer Leverkusen, with the Spanish side, in particular, interested in lining up a move this January.

The report claims that the youngster – whose contract runs until 2027 – is more likely to be sold for good money this summer.

Last year, Genk director Dimitri De Condé told HLN: “I have always said to Bilal and his entourage that we believe he should become the most expensive outgoing transfer in Belgian football.”

The current record sale in Belgian football history is Charles De Ketelaere's €36.5m (£31m) move to AC Milan from Club Brugge in 2022.

Meanwhile, the player's mother and agent, Karima Ben Aissa, has revealed contact with suitors.

“We are in contact with a few clubs. It doesn’t necessarily have to be a big name. Playing minutes take precedence,” she told HLN.

El Khannouss – who typically plays through the middle but has also featured on the left side of midfield – has scored three times and registered three assists in 20 Jupiler Pro League appearances for Genk so far in 2023/24.

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