Football: Liverpool complete signing of Serb midfielder Grujic

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp (left) with newly signed Marko Grujic from Red Star Belgrade.
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp (left) with newly signed Marko Grujic from Red Star Belgrade. PHOTO: LIVERPOOL FC/TWITTER

LONDON (The Guardian) - English Premier League side Liverpool have signed Marko Grujic from Red Star Belgrade for £5.1 million (S$10.7 million).

The 19-year-old Serbian midfielder has signed a four-and-a-half-year deal at Anfield but will be immediately loaned back to Serbia's league leaders for the remainder of the season.

Internazionale and Chelsea were among a host of clubs interested in Grujic, part of the Serbia squad that won the Under-20 World Cup last year, but the playmaker opted for Liverpool following a personal intervention from Juergen Klopp.

The Liverpool manager moved for the first signing of his Anfield reign at the request of his assistant, Grujic's compatriot Zeljko Buvac, and a deal was agreed in principle during talks in Belgrade before Christmas .

Red Star insisted on retaining their academy graduate for the rest of this season's title challenge and attempt to qualify for the Champions League.

The teenager underwent a medical on Merseyside on Monday and is due to return to Liverpool for pre-season training in July.

The Reds have also added another teenager to their ranks in the form of the Polish Under-17 goalkeeper Kamil Grabara.

The highly rated 16-year-old, who turns 17 on Friday, had trials with Manchester United and Manchester City after attracting widespread attention at Ruch Chorzow but has agreed a move to Anfield for an initial £250,000.

Liverpool are also considering their options for a new central defender in January having finished Tuesday's Capital One Cup semi-final win at Stoke City with all of their available, experienced options injured.

Tiago Ilori is expected to return from Aston Villa once his season-long loan deal is cancelled but is not viewed as a long-term solution while Joel Matip, the Schalke defender who is out of contract in the summer, has yet to decide on his future.