Arsenal and Liverpool to slug it out over Belgian 'wonderkid'?
Liverpool and Arsenal are likely to be locking horns this summer in the battle to entice young Belgium striker Zakaria Bakkali to the Premier League. Bakkali, born in Liege of Moroccan descent is set to consider his options as current Dutch club PSV Eindhoven have offered only a limited amount of first team football to the Belgian this season.
It’s reported that PSV are increasingly concerned about the rumours surrounding their young asset and are keen to talk with the player’s agents – his aunt and uncle – in order to convince them that the youngster’s future is best served by staying in Holland for the time being. PSV’s case will centre around their commitment to ensure a steady progression of development, rather than merely plunging him into the hurly-burly of top league football before he is ready for it. It may however be a difficult case to sustain.
The player is stalling over signing a potential new contract and Europe’s big clubs have taken that as a sign that he could be prised away from PSG. As well as Liverpool and Arsenal, Real Madrid are also reported to have taken an interested in the player who can operate as either a second striker, or a wide player.
With the burgeoning success of Belgians in the Premier League however such as Lukaku, Hazard and Vertonghen, England may look an attractive proposition. The Daily Mail is reporting that an unnamed PSV source told Dutch media: "Bakkali is a player that Wenger rates highly. Arsenal have kept an eye on him and are aware that other teams want him, so could move in the summer to buy him.” It also states however that reports in Holland suggest that Liverpool are now seriously interested in signing the player after manager Brendan Rodgers had him watched on a number of occasions, receiving positive feedback.
As the clock ticks down towards the conclusion of the Premier League season, the transfer market rumour mill will begin to ratchet up. The struggle to sign Bakkaali could be the first one of a very busy summer.
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