Liverpool eyeing swoop for 18-year-old wonderkid

Liverpool are eyeing a move for starlet Arthur Vermeeren from Royal Antwerp with a bidding war set to break out for the 18-year-old.

The young midfielder has wowed the biggest clubs across Europe with his consistently impressive performances for the Belgian side, racking up 53 appearances already for last season's Jupiler Pro League winners.

Capable of operating as a No. 6 or in a more advanced midfield role, the teenager is amassing a wealth of experience at an incredibly young age, even managing three Champions League appearances this season and his first senior Belgium cap.

Vermeeren has a goal and five assists in all competitions this term and is unsurprisingly attracting interest from Europe's elite.

According to Mundo Deportivo (via TEAMtalk), Liverpool are among the suitors for the Antwerp man and are even ready to launch a bid.

However, the Reds are not the only English club in pursuit, with rivals Manchester United also touted with a strong interest. Arsenal have been linked previously as well, although it seems that Liverpool and Man Utd may have jumped ahead of them in the queue.

Outside of the Premier League, Barcelona are the side most intrigued by Vermeeren, with suggestions that the club's sporting director Deco has already held preliminary discussions with the Belgian.

Despite this, Liverpool and Man Utd are supposedly the front-runners for his signature, even preparing bids in an attempt to stave off interest from the La Liga champions.

It's believed that Antwerp are holding out for around £26m for the youngster, a far from unreasonable price for a player of such potential and experience at a tender age.

Antwerp boss Mark van Bommel, formerly of Barcelona, resisted the urge to talk about Vermeeren prior to his side's Champions League clash with La Blaugrana earlier in the season.

When asked whether his former teammate and current Barca boss Xavi had asked for the lowdown on Vermeeren, Van Bommel responded: "I won’t give him any information, because he would buy him immediately."

The midfielder is highly-regarded in Belgium and it seems inevitable that he will make a big move sooner or later.

While Liverpool brought in four midfielders during the summer, there is an argument that the club could do with another body in the centre of the park, especially someone capable of playing in a defensive midfield role.

The Reds have been strongly linked with Fluminense midfielder Andre in January, but Vermeeren could be a younger alternative to the 22-year-old Brazilian.

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