A host of top Premier League clubs including Manchester United are monitoring the development of Crystal Palace youngster Kian Flanagan according to the Evening Standard.
The 15-year-old is highly rated at Selhurst Park and recently made his debut for the club's Academy side. He also featured for the club's development side against Colchester yesterday.
Flanagan, who joined Palace in 2013 for £37,000 from Southend, was a late substitute in their 5-2 victory over Charlton Athletic last week. Liverpool were said to be taking a look at him before he eventually settled on a move to south London.
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The young playmaker has already caught the eye of a host of major Premier League clubs including Manchester United, Chelsea and Arsenal. Flanagan is unable to sign a professional contract with a Premier League club until he is 17-years-old, and the Standard claim that his suitors are willing to pay up to £100,000 to take him on.
Crystal Palace are likely to fight any interest in the talented youngster having been stripped of their best young talent in recent seasons.
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Former club chairman Simon Jordan was left furious after John Bostock left to join Tottenham in 2008 aged just 16, while Manchester United snapped up Wilfried Zaha in 2013 for a fee of around £15 million, although the winger has since returned to Selhurst Park. Full-back Nathaniel Clyne also left to join Southampton three years ago.
Manchester United and Chelsea in particular have a history of trying to snap up the best young talent early having fought fiercely over Gael Kakuta as a youth player in 2007 - a deal the Blues risked a two-year transfer ban from FIFA to complete.
The Red Devils were also accused of luring Paul Pogba to Old Trafford in 2009 by Le Havre, who released a statement expressing their 'indignation' at the 'trading of minors'.
Football at the very top is now an arms race to find the best players as young as possible. Be that as it may, a three-way battle between the biggest clubs in the country over a player who hasn't even come close to making a first-team appearance beggars belief and suggests there is little thought given to the player's welfare.
Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers put it best when asked by reporters about his interest in Derby starlet Will Hughes last year.
"I never normally say anything about players but I do really feel for this young guy." he said at the time. "It is something which has been ongoing and I don't normally comment on speculation but [I will] because I have the interest of the player at heart. This is a very talented young player that either a person or a group of people aren't doing him any favours whatsoever by constantly linking him with coming to Liverpool."
Flanagan needs time, space and help to grow fulfil his potential. And that's it.
Should Premier League clubs be allowed to sign players under the age of 18?
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