Following reports yesterday claiming Liverpool were seriously considering a bid for Marko Grujic, a 19-year-old midfielder with Red Star Belgrade of the Serbian SuperLiga, a number of journalists with ties to the club have offered confirmation that the interest is real and quotes have emerged from the player that further suggest a move is possible.
Both Ben Smith of the BBC and James Pearce with the Liverpool Echo have today confirmed Liverpool’s interest in Grujic, and it appears a deal of around £5M is currently on the table. Further, it appears that Red Star Belgrade are happy enough with the deal in principle to have granted permission for Liverpool to speak to the player and his representatives.
If a deal does go through in January, though, it is likely Grujic would be loaned back to Red Star for the remainder of the season, as the player is keen to help his side qualify for next season’s Champions League by earning the league title. Red Star are favourites to do just that, having earned 56 points so far this season. The next best side has 37 points.
"I’ll try to respect the club and the fans, but again I think that for myself I have to choose the best environment where I can get a chance to play and where I would work with good coaches in the best conditions," said Grujic when asked about rumours of interest by local reporters after reports emerged that a Liverpool delegation had visited over the weekend.
Grujiccame up through the Red Star academy and was named the captain of his age group early on. He has represented Serbia at each youth level and currently is a mainstay in the country’s U21 setup. After getting his first taste of action last season with 10 mostly substitute appearances, he has played 19 of 20 league games this season and scored five times.
The Serbian SuperLiga operates a two-phase competition. In the autumn and winter, the 16 clubs play home and away. After the regular season, the top eight and bottom eight split for a second phase, with the top half fighting for the league title and the bottom half to avoid relegation. Red Star are the current holders and have won the league a record 26 times.
"It is certain that I will remain here until the end of qualifying for the Champions League," added Grujic. "I have talked with Liverpool but have not reached any agreement yet, and I’m still a Red Star Player."