Liverpool beat rivals to the signing of the 'Irish Lionel Messi'

Lionel Messi Argentina

Reports from the Daily Star report that Liverpool have beaten off fellow Premier League clubs to sign the "Irish Messi"

This week another promising footballer has been labelled “The Next Lionel Messi” and with interest from a high number of Premier League clubs, the 11-year-old has reportedly agreed to take his next step on the football ladder at Liverpool FC.

However, this is not a young Argentine kid that is making the trip across the Atlantic to follow his dream. Zak Gilsenan is Irish born, and has been playing for the last two seasons’ at Barcelona’s famous La Masia academy. It is there that he was dubbed the “Irish Messi” taking the same footsteps that the former Ballon d’Or winner took before breaking through at the World famous club.

Zak’s parents have recently decided to move to England and according to the Daily Star, Liverpool has beaten off competition from Manchester United, Chelsea and Arsenal to sign the young player.

Liverpool has a strong Irish heritage, with the likes of Mark Lawrenson, Ray Houghton, Ronnie Whelan and John Aldridge going on to play for international side while making their name at Anfield. There is a huge journey ahead for young Gilsenan, but if he continues to impress, he could go on to emulate those famous names and perhaps become better than them all.

His parents had planned to move to England when they left Australian, but the young star had caught the eye of a former Barcelona player living down under and the Spanish giants stepped in and scuppered a move to Spurs.

His best position is still unknown, which is normal for a player so early in his development. In his first year at Masia, as well as becoming the captain of the Barcelona youth side, Gilsenan has played as a striker, in midfield and at right-back.

Moving to England now would see him eligible to play for England, Ireland and Australian if he continues to impress as he grows older.

The most important thing now is for his family to settle back in England and that Zak continues to play football. It may be another six or seven years before we see if Zak is good enough to merit the Messi nickname, but when you score three goals in a trial game for Barcelona, there is reason to get excited about this move from Liverpool.

Staff at the state-of-the-art Kirkby academy is now tasked with continuing what La Masia in Barcelona started.

Register for LIVERPOOL team updates

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch