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Reds chasing teenage star


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I didn't know he was on trial, sounds like we've a good chance of getting him




Dec 29 2006


By Chris Bascombe, Liverpool Echo



LIVERPOOL are in battle with Manchester United to sign Scottish wonderkid James McCarthy.


The 16-year-old Hamilton Academicals midfielder spent a week on trial at Melwood last week.


Manager Rafa Benitez was so impressed with the teenager, he is now keen to conclude a deal as quickly as possible, but he's also aware of interest from a host of other top clubs preparing to swoop when the transfer window opens.


Because of his age, interested clubs may have to only pay compensation of around £100,000.


If he joined, McCarthy would be one of the youngest ever recruits into the Reds' senior ranks.



Liverpool have already opened talks with the player's club, who agreed to the trial period, but most now act swiftly to make the move permanent.


Sir Alex Ferguson is also targeting the youngster, and some reports in Scotland claim United are favourites to complete the transfer.


However, it's understood the Scot would prefer a switch to Anfield.


McCarthy has quickly emerged as one of the hottest properties north of the border. He made his first team debut for Hamilton earlier this season aged just 15, and immediately attracted the attentions of Premiership clubs.


An attacking, creative midfielder, McCarthy has also been offered trials by some of La Liga's top teams.


Deportivo La Coruna invited him to Spain, and it's believed both Barcelona and Valencia are also monitoring his progress.


Benitez has made no secret of his desire to recruit more teenage talent in the months to come, having already packed Gary Ablett's reserve side with youngsters.


Argentinian left back Emiliana Insua officially joins the club on January 1, and it's hoped McCarthy will be next in the ranks.


Meanwhile, Craig Bellamy has been given the all-clear to feature in tomorrow's clash against Spurs at White Hart Lane. The Welshman suffered an eye injury late into the Reds' 1-0 defeat to Blackburn.

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