Liverpool have emerged as the front-runners to sign Athletic Bilbao teenager Inigo Ruiz de Galarreta.
According to Tutto Mercato Web, the Basque club are bracing themselves for a bid from the Anfield club; who have reportedly been keeping a close eye on the midfielder.
The 17-year-old’s technique and vision have seen him compared to former Anfield favourite Xabi Alonso, who transferred to Spanish giants Real Madrid last summer for a whopping £30 million.
Goal.com reports that de Galarreta is the jewel in the crown of the Bilbao youth academy and made his first-team bow in a friendly against Lemona earlier this summer.
The Spanish starlet is now set to be at the centre of a bidding war between a number of top European clubs – with Chelsea also linked to the youngster – as various scouts supposedly monitor his progress.
Bilbao are understood to be reluctant to sell the future star, but they are said to be worried that a substantial offer from the Premier League could prove too difficult to refuse.