Manchester United, Liverpool, Chelsea and Arsenal have received a boost in their alleged pursuit of Zakaria Bakkali after reports emerged that the Belgian winger has been frozen out by PSV Eindhoven and will not feature for the Eredivisie club again following his refusal to sign a new contract.
That's according to Belgian media outlet HLN.be, who cite local Dutch newspaper the Eindhoven Dagblad when confirming that the 18-year-old's current deal at the Philips Stadion expires next summer, and manager Phillip Cocu has been trying for months to get the talented teenager to pen an extension.
However, Bakkali has been biding his time amid reported interest from a host of top European clubs; a move that now looks to have backfired after PSV lost patience with the talented teenager.
Described as the 'next Eden Hazard' in his homeland, Bakkali has attracted admiring glances from the Premier League, with Louis van Gaal, Arsene Wenger, Jose Mourinho and Brendan Rodgers all among the player's growing list of suitors, according to the Daily Star.
A move to England appeared increasingly likely after PSV withdrew their offer of a new contract last week, and the latest development will almost certainly push the youngster out of the club when the transfer window reopens in January.
PSV sporting director Marcel Brands recently spoke out about his frustration that one of Europe's brightest young talents appears to be being misled and misinformed by those around him, and hopes the decision to leave Holland so early in his career will not come back to haunt him.
"Of course it's bad for the club," Brands admitted. "But I think it's actually worse for the player himself.
"It is a shame that a young player with talent does not choose the right path.
"People might think I am naive but I don't blame the guy or his father. The problem is that Zakaria is getting influenced by everything and everyone around him."
It's unclear at this stage where Bakkali will end up, be it at Old Trafford, Stamford Bridge, Anfield or the Emirates, but what's certain is the need for him to continue playing regular football - something that he will no longer be afforded during his final four months at Eindhoven.
Despite the widespread interest in the attacking midfielder's signature, PSV are resigned to losing the player on the cheap given the fact he is already in the final 12 months of his contract.
The best they can hope for is a subtle price hike if a bidding war for Bakkali ensues, but clubs will be well aware that by waiting til next summer they'd only have to pay a comparatively smaller compensation fee to the club that nurtured him in the early stages of his development.
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