by Alan Nixon
Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers is ready to fight Manchester United and Arsenal for Crewe whizkid Nick Powell.
New Kop chief Rodgers is prepared to top the offers from United and the Gunners for the young attacker.
Powell is going to be cleared for talks with United chief Sir Alex Ferguson after his bid of £2million-plus down and installments that could take the total value to £5m was accepted by the Railwaymen.
Arsenal have offered more money for Powell, but Crewe surprisingly snubbed their approach.
Now Rodgers hopes he can step in and win the race with a better bid.
The auction has begun in earnest for an 18-year-old who is tipped for greatness, although Tottenham have dropped out because of the ‘extras’ that take his total fee beyond their valuation.
Powell will also have a say on his move – he wants to play first-team football and will want that chance either at his new club or by being sent out on loan for additional experience.
Ferguson has been working overtime to land Powell, who would also like to stay in the north-west of England – a factor which makes Rodgers’ arrival in the hunt a real threat to United’s plans.
BUSY Liverpool have also won the race to sign Birmingham starlet Foday Nabay.
Chelsea, Arsenal and Manchester United were also chasing the midfielder, who has been playing above his age group in Blues’ Under-18s side.
Anfield scouts had been eyeing Nabay long before Rodgers’ appointment last week, and watched the Sierra Leone-born prospect play for England Under-16s last summer.
Liverpool will have to pay Birmingham only £70,000 in compensation, due to a loophole in Nabay’s contract at St Andrew’s.