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Liverpool signing Marko Grujic - the new Nemanja Matic?

Liverpool officially won the race to sign Marko Grujic on Wednesday, with Jurgen Klopp sealing a £5 million deal to make the Serb his first signing as manager at Anfield.

Goal reported back in December that the Reds sent scouts to watch the 19-year-old impress in a 7-2 victory for Red Star over Cukaricki and, with a string of top European clubs interested, the Merseysiders moved quickly from there to get the deal over the line.

Grujic will spend the rest of the 2015-16 campaign on loan with Red Star but after having sealed his switch to Anfield, he's already looking forward to getting started at Liverpool, insisting that playing in front of "the loudest set of fans in Europe" was of huge appeal.

Inter, Paris Saint-Germain, Roma and Torino were among the clutch of other European clubs monitoring the teenager and it is easy to see why. A midfielder who operates as a screen in front of the back four, Grujic has already been dubbed the new Nemanja Matic, having risen through Serbia's youth ranks to help his side win the Under-20 World Cup in New Zealand earlier in 2015.



Having starred in a local youth tournament, Grujic joined Red Star's youth academy at the age of nine, catching the eye of Tomislav Milicevic, who previously discovered Stankovic and Vladimir Jugovic, another player to have represented Inter as well as Juventus, Lazio and Sampdoria.

Grujic made his Red Star debut during the 2012-13 season against Vojvodina and has gone on to make over 30 appearances for the club, scoring five goals, as well as enjoying a spell at lower league side FK Kolubara.

Nicknamed 'Gruja', his performances have seen him become one of the darlings of the 'Marakana', or Rajkon Mitic Stadium, and in a recent home game against Borac Cacak, supporters rose to their feet and sang his name.

At 6'3'', Grujic is considered a defensive midfielder who is difficult to beat, with his main responsibility in the side to recover possession and launch attacks.


But the 19-year-old has qualities which belie his years. He has displayed excellent control of the ball and decision-making on the counter and boasts the maturity and character of a senior member of the Red Star squad.

Liverpool were not the first Premier League club to attempt to prise Grujic away from Belgrade. Chelsea moved for the teenager last summer with the intention of loaning him to another side in Europe, but the player rejected the chance to follow Matic to Stamford Bridge.

But it is the Reds who have got their man, with Grujic having the honour of being Klopp's first signing in England.

Fabio Borini was the first player to arrive in the Brendan Rodgers era on Merseyside, while Kenny Dalglish can claim Luis Suarez as his first transfer.

It's too early to make any bold predictions over Grujic's potential success in the game but Klopp will certainly be hoping he's unearthed a gem, and not just another Anfield flop destined for the scrapheap.