By Italy correspondent Gianluigi Carrozzini
Napoli have hijacked Liverpool’s move for Udinese midfielder Piotr Zielinski, it was confirmed on Friday.
The Poland international has been heavily linked with a move to Anfield and it was reported to be virtually a done deal, with Sky Italy journalist Gianluca Di Marzio claiming on his website on Monday that Zielinski was set to complete an Anfield medical following his team’s exit from Euro 2016.
However, Napoli have hijacked the deal in a bid to persuade the 22-year-old to remain in Italy.
“The lad told me he’d make a decision after the Euros, so we’ll have important news in the next few days,” Udinese sporting director Nereo Bonato revealed on Radio Kiss Kiss Napol, as quoted by the Football Italia website.
“There’s an agreement with Napoli, we hope that the lad will be able to agree with the Neapolitans, it’s what we want too.”
Zielinski has spent the last two seasons on loan at Empoli, but returned to Udinese at the end of the 2015-16 campaign.
The youngster is set to return to Italy following Poland’s elimination from Euro 2016 at the hands of Portugal on Thursday night and make a decision about his future.
Liverpool had been close to an agreement after Jurgen Klopp gave the Udinese playmaker assurances about his place in the Merseysiders’ team next season.
However, the fee is yet to be agreed between Liverpool and the Serie A club, with the price-tag reported to be in the region of £12million.
Nevertheless, Zielinski is thought to be confident the move will be finalised shortly after he returns from the Euros and that he will travel to England after the tournament for a medical.
The 22-year-old spent the 2015-16 campaign on loan at Empoli, scoring five goals and providing six assists from midfield, and has reportedly turned down Napoli in favour of linking up with Klopp at Liverpool.
The German manager is thought to have assured Zielinski that he will be a major part of his starting eleven in the upcoming season despite the fact he will compete with current first teamers Emre Can, James Milner and captain Jordan Henderson for a place in the centre of the park.
In other Liverpool transfer news, a Brazilian ace is being tipped to follow Sadio Mane to Anfield in the coming weeks.