Police are investigating a series of offensive comments made on Twitter directed at sought-after Liverpool and England forward Raheem Sterling.
The 20-year-old is at the centre of one of the summer's longest running transfer sagas, with a record-breaking deal believed to have been struck between Liverpool and suitors Manchester City.
The move, thought to be worth up to £49 million, has prompted anger from some football supporters.
Merseyside Police are now investigating the content of some messages, which included threats to Sterling's young daughter as well as racist comments.
A police spokesman said: "We are taking the incident extremely seriously and an investigation by detectives in Liverpool CID is on-going."
Many of the tweets have since been deleted, although fellow users alerted police by taking screen grabs of the offensive material.