Liverpool and Arsenal have missed out on an opportunity to sign Juan Manuel Iturbe as the Hellas Verona star is set to remain in Italy after joining AS Roma in the ongoing transfer window.
The 21-year-old was reportedly on the radar of both the Premier League outfits along with Juventus and Atletico Madrid. But the Serie A runners-up have stolen a march on all four clubs and sealed the deal to acquire the forward's services for the next five years.
A statement on Roma's official website read: "AS Roma announces that they have signed a contract with Hellas Verona for the definitive acquisition of the rights of the player Iturbe for a fee of €22m (£17.5m)."
"The agreement provides for the payment of a variable amount, up to a maximum of €2.5m (£2m) for bonuses subject to AS Roma achieving certain goals."
"The player has signed a contract of employment of five years, expiring on 30 June 2019."
'New Lionel Messi'
Hellas sporting director Sean Sogliano had already revealed that the Argentinean, who is capped at the U-20 level and is dubbed as the "new Lionel Messi", would be sold if a big club made a suitable offer.
Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers was keen on adding more firepower to his attack and has already swooped for Lazar Markovic from Benfica. Meanwhile, the Gunners too have signed Barcelona star Alexis Sanchez for a reported £35m fee.
Iturbe made 33 Serie A appearances last season scoring eight times and contributing four assists in the process. The former FC Porto star becomes Rudi Garcia's fifth summer signing after Seydou Keita, Salih Ucan, Ashley Cole and Urby Emanuelson.
Meanwhile, Hellas too released a statement on their official website. It stated: "The club Hellas Verona FC wishes you the best of luck in football to Juan Manuel Iturbe, passed definitively to club AS Roma."
"The one player who shall never be forgotten for what he has demonstrated on and off the pitch, a special and unique boy, who became a first-team regular at Verona and then a champion. Good luck #JMI , you're #elmasgrande (#thegreatest)."
Hellas president, Maurizio Setti, too heaped praise on Iturbe saying: "He's a champion, with a bright future ahead of him. Sorry for having sold a player with the infinite talent, but you cannot refuse some deals."
"I'm convinced that we will start again to become big. Verona remains and will continue to work to become a successful team and a club."