Liverpool is preparing a bid for Wigan Athletic midfielder James McCarthy after a lack of progress in his contract talks with the Latics, according to The Daily Mirror.
As exclusively revealed by Goal.com back in May, the Anfield club is interested in bringing in the Ireland international to continue their policy of building a squad based on young British talent.
The report claims that such a move is now closer than ever as McCarthy has yet to negotiate a pay increase at the DW Stadium despite contract talks having opened more than a month ago, encouraging Liverpool to make their move.
McCarthy reportedly picked Wigan over a move to Merseyside back in 2009 in order to ensure a run in the first-team; but now, at the age of 20, it would seem that the midfield playmaker feels it is time to move on.
Wigan chairman Dave Whelan would prefer to keep the player at the club, but may be forced to sell, having previously admitted difficulty in keeping such talents as McCarthy at the club.
Charles N’Zogbia is a prime example of Wigan electing to sell this summer rather than lose a player for a reduced fee in January or at the end of his contract - and the report suggests McCarthy could soon be following the Frenchman out of the exit door.
Reds boss Kenny Dalglish is understood to be willing to make a bid of around £15 million to fend off apparent interest in McCarthy from Premier League rivals Chelsea and Arsenal.