Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers is looking for a defensive midfielder to add to the squad in January and reports in Italy claim that he has set his sights on Udinese's Emmanuel Agyemang Badu.

The 23-year-old Ghanaian international helped his country win the 2009 Under-20 World Cup and is set to make the trip to Brazil next summer but he has struggled to get a regular starting place at Udinese since he moved to the Italian side in January 2010.

Badu has started just eight Serie A games this campaign and he is willing to move to the Premier League during this transfer window with Arsenal and Tottenham among other sides reportedly interested in his signature.

However TV station Sky Italia report that Liverpool are leading the race to sign Badu as they have already made contact with the player.

The report adds that negotiations between both clubs are on-going and the deal could be done for a fee in the range of £7m.

Last month The Metro claimed that Badu was recommended to Rodgers by his European scouts who have been monitoring the player since the summer.

Badu's versatility to play in both midfield and defence has impressed Brendan Rodgers who is looking for a back-up option to Lucas Leiva and is concerned about Steven Gerrard's and Joe Allen's recent injuries.

Badu, who has a contract with Udinese until June 2016, recently admitted that he would be pleased to move to Anfield during the winter transfer window.

"It will be a dream come true to play a club like Liverpool," Badu said.

"If the offer comes and the two parties (Udinese and Liverpool) agree, why not.

"My wife is a Liverpool fan so it will be a honour to play for such a big club."