Liverpool are set to beat Manchester United in signing Lazio striker Keita Balde Diao, according to the Express.
The 19-year-old came up through the ranks of Barcelona's famous youth system and had an impressive spell on-loan at Cornella, where he bagged 47 goals in one season. He left the Catalan club and joined the Serie A outfit for £300,000 in 2011.
Diao had a good season with Lazio's first team during the previous campaign, scoring five goals and managing three assists from 25 league appearances. The striker is believed to be the long-term successor to World Cup-winning star Miroslav Klose at Stadio Olimpico.
Brendan Rodgers is keen on securing a move for Diao, who is also attracting interest from Liverpool's league rivals in recent times.
Liverpool have already made an approach in signing the Lazio prodigy, but the Merseyside club's offer has been turned down by the Italian club. The Reds are now planning to improve their offer to sign the talented striker.
The player recently signed a contract extension with his current employers and the new deal will keep him at Lazio till 2018.
An improved offer from Liverpool for Diao's signature would be hard for Lazio to turn down. The player's agent Ulisse Savini has admitted the striker could leave as he claims his client is worth at least €15m. Savini also says Diao has his heart set to play in the Premier League in the future.
"I think Keita would be fine with a future in English football. I think that it is much better there than in Germany, for example," the Mirror quoted Savini as saying in March.
"It is obvious in the football business around the world that it is normal to receive attention from some foreign teams every weekend."
"If he was to leave Lazio, we will never find a club in Italy that will buy him, assuming the important figures that [Lazio president] Claudio Lotito would ask for."
"How much is he worth? If a say a price Lotito will contradict me. But at present, according to my judgment, he cannot be worth less than €15million," Diao's agent concluded.