By Alex Stevens

Liverpool are set to lose the race to sign Uruguay sensation Joaquin Ardaiz, according to a report.

The Sun claim the striker, 17, is edging towards a move to continental Europe after being closely scouted by the Merseyside giants.

It is said Ardaiz is a big Liverpool fan after seeing their TV games in Uruguay but, despite interest from the Premier League giants, Barcelona and Atletico Madrid, he is keen on a switch to a smaller club where he can play more regularly.

The teenager hit headlines last week with a late winner against Penerol and his chances of eventually playing in England are boosted by having a London-based agent in TMG.

Ardaiz was born in Luis Suarez’s hometown Salto and the ex-Liverpool striker gave him his seal of approval with a pep talk last season on international duty.

“I like Chelsea and Liverpool,” Ardaiz said, as quoted by the Sun. “I love the Premier League and want to play here.

“I watch lots of games and like the Manchester derby when you  feel the atmosphere. People have said I have similar characteristics to  Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

“I’ve been working very hard on the physical side of my game to get to England.”

Ardaiz is close to a senior Uruguay call-up after scoring two goals in six matches for the country’s Under-20s side.

In other Liverpool transfer news, Tottenham have joined the race to sign the £30million ace who is a long-term target of the Merseyside club.