Liverpool sporting director

Watford fear Liverpool will hijack their deal to sign Fluminese forward Joao Pedro next January, Football Insider understands.

The Brazilian sensation, 17, signed an agreement last year costing £2.2million rising to £6.6million to join the Hornets in January of next year when he will have turned 18.

A Watford source has told Football Insider that reports in Brazil that the deal includes a £17.6million release clause that can be triggered by a rival club even before he moves to Vicarage Road is correct.

Liverpool are paying close attention to the terms of Pedro’s agreement with Watford and have been given encouragement the rising star could be tempted to take advantage of the clause and switch clubs.

The Hertfordshire outfit responded on their official Twitter account to the striker’s remarkable performance for Fluminese in their 4-1 win over Atletico Nacional on Thursday night – he scored a hat-trick and bagged an assist in the space of 30 minutes by proclaiming, ‘See you in January’.

Watford could lose the striker before he even officially joins, although Liverpool or any other buyer would not only have to pay £17.6million to buy him out of the deal but pay Fluminese a compensation fee for the £6.6million bonus they would not be getting.

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The Merseyside giants have been alerted to the teenager’s talent following his astonishing introduction to senior football in his homeland.

Pedro has scored seven goals in his last 10 games, making a better start to first-team football than the likes of Ronaldo and Neymar.

In other Liverpool news, it can be REVEALED that an Anfield attacker has rejected a new five-year contract and he is set to join one of their Premier League top-six rivals.