Chelsea are in talks to sign Nigerian starlet Kelechi Nwakali, according to the 17-year-old's agent. Nwakali captained Nigeria to their second consecutive Under-17 World Cup triumph in Chile in November, receiving the Golden Ball – the competition's award for best player.
According to the playmaker's agent, Klay Ekeocha, Chelsea are leading the race for his signature, although Serie A side Udinese have already made a firm offer for the player.
Arsenal have also been contacted to gauge their interest in the talented teenager, who is a self-confessed Gunners supporter, but Ekeocha is yet to receive a response from north side of London.
Speaking to allnigeriasoccer.com, he said: "We are in contact with Chelsea, Udinese and Olympiakos. We have to wait and discuss with all the clubs, then decide with the family and academy."
Ekechoa added that potential problems in securing a work permit for Nwakali have seen West Ham United and Manchester City end their interest.
"Udinese made a ridiculous offer of €800,000 for the Most Valuable Player of the Fifa Under-17s World Cup. We are working hard for the player, his family and academy. City and West Ham are no longer involved because of work permit issues. We got in touch with Arsenal and there has been no feedback."
Nwakali, who recently said in an interview with Fifa.com he models his game on that of Manchester City's Yaya Toure, was one of a handful of youngsters to rise to prominence at the Under-17 World Cup. His teammate Victor Osimhen scored 10 goals to help Nigeria secure their third success in the competition in just eight years, with Spanish daily AS later claiming Tottenham Hotspur have struck a deal to sign the player.
Manchester City have already reaped the rewards from signing a player to have excelled for Nigeria at the competition. Kelechi Iheanacho scored seven goals to help his country win the tournament in 2013, earning himself a move to the Etihad Stadium six months later.
Now 19, Iheanacho made his competitive debut this season and so far scored twice for the club.