Liverpool's move for Serbian teenager Marko Grujic has hit a stumbling block after the player's father claimed Red Star Belgrade are trying to sell his son against his will.
On Wednesday 23 December, Red Star released a lengthy statement confirming they had accepted Liverpool's offer of€7m (5.1m, €7.6m) for the player, explaining their perilous financial predicament left them with little choice but to cash in on their prized asset.
The Serbian giants concluded they had agreed to sell the player with a heavy heart, but Marko's father Goran Grujic has slammed the club for their handling of the transfer.
Speaking to Serbian outlet Blic, Grujic Snr claims the "penniless" club put unnecessary pressure on his son to sign for Jurgen Klopp's side, adding that even some of his Red Star teammates have pushed for him to sign the contract.
"I will not let them ruin my child! The people who run the club have all turned their backs, some remain penniless and the club's sales have dropped. That is why he is being pressured," he told the publication.
"Ten times a day, they call the phone and convince him to sign the contract [with Liverpool]. For him, there is also a pressure in the dressing room, because it seems some players are convinced money owed to them depends solely on the sale of Marko."
Grujic Snr adds his son's passport is in his possession and suggested he will do all he can to scupper the move to Anfield.
"We chatted with people from Udinese, representatives also came from Anderlecht. But then came the story of his sale. But his passport is still with me and I [could] claim Marko is not going anywhere. He is on track to win the title with Red Star, it is logical that his price in a year will be even bigger. But many people are in a hurry to collect his transfer fee now."
In a final warning, Grujic Snr pointed out the long list of talented young Serbians who lost their way in the Premier League. "Bojan Djordjic, Milos Veljkovic, Zoran Tosic, Lazar Markovic, Danilo Pantic? No one has the opportunity to prove himself. The second story with [Branislav] Ivanovic and [Nemanja]Vidic, they came as experienced players."