Forever vying to consolidate their standing as world football’s most dominant force, Real Madrid are on a talent-vacuuming mission.
Los Blancos’ vast scouting network is purveying the continent for the hottest properties and allegedly already have Ajax’s 16-year-old striker Mink Peeters, Real Mallorca’s Marco Asenio and Norwegian prodigy Martin Odegaard in their tractor beam.
Not content with this bulk haul of future gems, last season’s Champions League winners are also intent on prising teenage schemer Pedro Chirivella out of the Liverpool academy.
The Reds procured Spain’s Under-18 skipper from Valencia for £200,000 a year ago, but if Real get their wish, the lauded youngster will be heading back to his homeland in the coming months.
But what do we know about him?
A holding-midfielder, Chirivella has been likened to his idol and former Kop favourite Xabi Alonso.
Recruited by former Liverpool academy director Frank McParland, the 17-year-old is nicknamed ‘the computer’ for his unerring ability to read the game and invariably pick the right pass, very much in the mould of current Merengues playmaker Toni Kroos, though without the inclinations to get forward.
He prefers instead to retrieve the ball from his side’s centre-backs before passing it into midfield; he is, therefore, the genesis of all the team’s attacks built from deep.
Although far from a regular in Liverpool’s UEFA Youth League side, Chirivella has made two substitute appearances in the competition, helping the team to a 4-0 win over Ludogorets.
Given the current plight of the senior side, a similar result when they travel to Bulgaria this week is desperately required.
Brendan Rodgers’ out-of-form outfit can be backed to prevail in this all-important encounter at even money, though Razgrad’s finest have bested 14 of their last 19 foes at home and may be worth a flutter at 11/4.
Open an account at bwin.com today and cop a £30 free bet for your troubles.
Invest it in the Bulgarian champions and trouser an £82.50 profit if they do the business.