Chelsea have had a bid rejected by West Bromwich Albion for Isaiah Brown and have been told they will have to go to tribunal to arrange a fee.
West Brom confirmed a bid for the 16-year-old midfielder had been received from the Stamford Bridge club via a statement on the club's official website.
New manager Jose Mourinho is expected to make significant changes to his Chelsea squad and make a commitment to developing the club’s youth academy.
Arsenal were also credited with an interest in signing Brown from the west Midlands club, though reports recently suggested Chelsea had moved ahead in the race.
Brown became the second youngest Premier League player when he made his first team debut last season against Wigan Athletic.
A England Under-17s international, Brown is one of the most highly rated young players in the country and the Baggies’ sporting director, Richard Garlick, claimed the bid from Chelsea was nowhere near enough.
“We are disappointed by Chelsea’s offer,” he said in the statement.
“We have invested a lot of time and money in Isaiah’s development as a player and - as one of our most exciting Academy products in recent years - we had hoped to bring him through into our first team.
“But Chelsea have forced our hands and we are more than prepared for the matter to be decided by a tribunal if needs be.”
Garlick then went on to lament the trend of academy prospects moving from smaller clubs to big club when still very young, believing it to be stifling their development.
“More importantly, it makes you question why these young players are joining bigger clubs when they are likely to gain more first-team opportunities in the Barclays Premier League at clubs similar to us.”