Ivory Coast are plotting a dramatic attempt to snatch Crystal Palace starlet Wilfried Zaha - a reported January transfer target for Liverpool, Arsenal Manchester City and Tottenham - from under the noses of England, reports the Daily Mail.
The 19-year-old winger was born in Africa, but moved to the United Kingdon as a child, and has represented the Three Lions at U21 level. However, Zaha remains eligible to play for the country of his birth, because he is yet to feature for Roy Hodgson's senior side.
Widely regarded as one of the hottest prospects outside the Premier League, the talented teenager has been a revelation for Palace this season, playing a key role in the Selhurst Park club's rise to fourth in the Championship.
His performances have attracted admiring glances from a host of different clubs, with Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers reportedly leading the race for his signature, as he bids to lure him to Merseyside when the transfer window reopens next year.
The Reds will face rival interest from Arsenal, though, after Arsene Wenger sent former assistant manager Pat Rice to run the rule over Zaha - in his revised role as Gunners scout - in the recent 4-3 victory against Burnley.
North London could be a likely destination Dougie Freedman's young prodigy, with Spurs also credited with an interest, while reigning Premier League champions City are also monitoring his situation.
But, whether it's Anfield or the Emirates Stadium, White Hart Lane or the Etihad, Zaha's domestic services will cost upwards of £12million, while his international future seems to be equally up in the air.
Ivory Coast have long been aware of the player's talent, but have so far resisted a concrete attempt to lure him away from England. But, Zaha's excellent performances so far this season have forced Elephants chiefs to accelerate their quest to nail him down by making personal contact with the forward to sound him out over his international future.
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