Arsenal and Liverpool will have to get a move on if they wish to sign Zakaria Bakkali from PSV Eindhoven as Atletico Madrid have already made a move for the young starlet.
Bakkali has a bourgeoning reputation as one of the most promising youngsters in European football despite only playing 16 Eredivisie games for his club. He became the youngest player to score a hat-trick in the Dutch league against NEC back in August just before his 18th birthday to offer a glimpse of his potential.
Indeed, such is his promise that he has been labelled the 'new Eden Hazard' by some, and is being tracked by some of Europe's biggest clubs including Liverpool and Arsenal. Tottenham have also been previously linked with the young forward.
However his Premier League suitors will have to move quick if they want to beat Atletico Madrid to the punch - sources in Spain say that the league champions have already reached an agreement with PSV. However crucially the Dutch club's technical director Marcel Brands says that as things stands, there is still time for Arsenal and Liverpool to pounce because nothing is set in stone.
Door still open
"It is certainly not done but Atletico are very interested and know what we want," he said. "We might be able to come to an agreement."
One thing that may count against both Liverpool and Arsenal is that the youngster is not keen on moving abroad according to Brands. That could also put paid to Atletico's move for him.
"To be honest I do not see Zakaria going abroad at this time," he said. I don't rule out that he just stays with us.
"There are also some other clubs interested in him, but Atletico is the only one who have made a concrete offer. Whether he chooses to stay with us or a transfer, it is now clear what he must do.
"He can still extend his contract with us and then if he chooses to increase his efforts for PSV, with his heart and soul, that's fine. If he chooses a transfer, I am also at peace with it."
Arsenal have a history of snapping up the best players from around Europe, however more recently they have changed tact to target big-money signings. Alexis Sanchez has arrived from Barcelona while Mathieu Debuchy and goalkeeper David Ospina have followed suit.
Liverpool meanwhile are busy splashing the cash they recouped from the sale of Luis Suarez, but rather than follow Arsenal and sign big-money players they have looked to land younger players with plenty of potential - a category that Zakaria Bakkali certainly fits in to.
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