Liverpool ran out of time to complete the deal to sign highly-rated midfielder Fabio Carvalho from Fulham on transfer deadline day last month. This has opened the door for their rivals Barcelona and Real Madrid. The Reds are now powerless from stopping the midfielder from talking to other clubs despite Jurgen Klopp confirming the club's interest in signing him in the summer.

Carvalho is in the final five months of his contract with Fulham, and will leave the Cottagers on a free transfer in the summer. Liverpool were keen to get a march on their rivals and had agreed an £8 million fee with the London club in January, but ran out of time on deadline day to get the deal across the line.

Ahead of Liverpool's FA Cup tie against Cardiff City, Klopp confirmed that Liverpool remain interested in bringing the Portuguese midfielder to Anfield in the summer. The German coach admitted that now things are out of their hands, but will continue to remain in talks with Carvalho's representatives.

"We will see with that. Of course, we are obviously still interested," Klopp told a news conference on Friday, as quoted on ESPN. "It would be crazy if we were not."

"It was late to do the deal before the transfer window closed again. And so in the end it didn't work out but yeah, we'll see what happens. These things are sometimes out of our hands."

However, despite the Reds' interest, their failure to complete the deal has left the door open for other clubs to approach Carvalho about a free transfer in the summer. According to Marca, La Liga giants Barcelona and Real Madrid are preparing to open talks about agreeing a pre-contract agreement with the 19-year-old sensation.

The Spanish outfits have made it a habit in recent transfer windows to target players running down their contracts. The clubs have been seeking moves where a transfer fee is not involved, which gives them added maneuverability in contract negotiations allowing them to hand out more lucrative deals.

Liverpool, however, are considered to be the front runners for Carvalho's signature, but the sudden interest from Barcelona and Real Madrid is certain to pique the midfielder's interest. Apart from the Spanish outfits, Serie A giants AC Milan are also thought to be in conversation with the England youth international's agents about a summer move to San Siro.

Marco Silva
Fulham manager Marco Silva has accepted that Fabio Carvalho will leave on a free transfer in the summer. Glyn KIRK/AFP