By Scott Taylor
Liverpool have emerged as the club who are targeting Birmingham City youngster Demarai Gray, and the Reds have reportedly agreed a deal for Gray, 18.
It was reported that Brendan Rodgers and Blues manager Lee Clark agreed a deal meaning that Liverpool can match any other Birmingham get for the England Under 18 International.
This agreement was agreed as part of Jordon Ibe’s loan deal which saw Ibe join the Championship at the end of last season.
Gray has some Championship experience despite his tender age having played 18 times for his boyhood club since making his debut in October 2013. The winger was also named Academy Player of the Season in the 2013/14 season.
Even with his rise through the academy, which started as an Under 11, Gray is not getting carried away and is self critical of himself. The youngster has said that he has “pace, dribbling and technique”, but is aware that he needs to “score more goals”, and this shows having found the net twice in his 18 games as a Birmingham City player.
Gray has also been doing well internationally, having impressed with the England Under 18s and it was just a month ago when Gray was called up to the England Under 19s squad for their game with Germany.
Clark knows how hard it is to keep hold of him and told Birmingham’s local paper, the Birmingham Mail that “to keep these players, while we are still a Championship club – even though the history of us, the size of us – is not easy, but what I try to say to young players like Demarai [Gray] is do they really want to go end up being in these big clubs’ under-21 teams”.
As well as interest from Liverpool, Clark revealed that there was interest from Crystal Palace as they made a £500,000 bid for him on deadline day (which was subsequently turned down) and in the last few hours Newcastle are the latest side to show interest, so it will be interesting to see how this story pans out and see whether Liverpool want to add Gray to their current crop of impressive midfield talents.