Chelsea leading Liverpool in race for Zakaria Bakkali

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Zakaria Bakkali looks set to join Chelsea ahead of Liverpool as Jose Mourinho closes in on the man dubbed the 'New Eden Hazard', reports the Daily Star.

The 18-year-old is widely considered one of the hottest prospects in European football and looks set to leave PSV Eindhoven after contract talks broke down. He has since been frozen out of the squad ahead of his contract expiring next summer.

Contract offer

PSV sporting director Marcel Brands recently spoke about how frustrated he was becoming at trying to tie Bakkali down to a new contract. Those quotes were then followed up by a report that PSV had withdrawn their contract offer.

Now a host of top European clubs are circling the Philips Stadion but it appears Chelsea are leading the race. That is despite the fact that Liverpool have been firmly interested in the forward for some time.

Premier League interest

But Liverpool and Chelsea are not the only Premier League clubs looking at the Belgium international. Arsenal and Manchester United have also been linked with the player in recent weeks as his exit from PSV becomes inevitable.

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While a move to Old Trafford or the Emirates comes with added benefits, it appears that the chance to join up with international team-mate Hazard will prove to hard to resist. Jose Mourinho will no doubt have been using his influence over the Chelsea star to coax Bakkali to Stamford Bridge.

First team opportunities

One concern with moving to Chelsea will be Mourinho's track record of not allowing youngsters too many opportunities in the first team. Instead, Mourinho has opted to send out a number of young stars to European clubs on loan to get experience.

Alternatively, Manchester United, Liverpool and Arsenal prefer to blood their young talents within their own confines. But all of the clubs will be worried about Bakkali's growing reputation as a rebellious and destructive character.

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