Liverpool told to fork out £24m in order to secure 'the next Messi'

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Liverpool's bid to sign Verona winger Juan Iturbe has hit a stumbling block as the Serie A side look for £24m in order to sell him.

The Reds missed out on the title as Manchester City swooped in to capitalise on Liverpool's poor results against Chelsea and Crystal Palace to take the crown in the final weeks of the season, but whilst there may be some disappointment at missing out on top spot, supporters can look forward to Champions League football returning to Anfield.

Yet in order to be competitive in both the Premier League and in Europe, manager Brendan Rodgers will have to strengthen his squad. Depth was an issue for Liverpool at times during the season, and Rodgers has the backing to go and rectify that situation this summer.

One of the primary areas of concern for the former Swansea boss will be on the flanks, where has made concerted efforts to improve over the last twelve months, only to see bids for Willian, Mohamed Salah and Yevhen Konoplyanka fall short, leaving Liverpool thin out wide.

Those missed targets have now led Rodgers to target Verona's Iturbe, who has long been tipped as 'the next Lionel Messi'. Despite that tag, the 20-year-old struggled to make an impact with Porto, leading to a loan move to Serie A, where has racked up eight goals and four assists in an impressive season.

Verona have now activated a £12m buyout clause and are widely expected to sell him on again this summer, but Liverpool's pursuit has been knocked after sporting director Sean Sogliano said they were looking for a fee of £24m - double what they've paid to keep him in Italy.

"Iturbe? For me he is worth more than £24m," said Sogliano. "If we can sell at a figure to make a fortune for Verona he may leave, otherwise he will remain with us. I do not know where he will go. I will only sit down with those who really want him."

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