Liverpool and Chelsea are interested in Genk forward Leon Bailey, but face competition from a host of clubs from around Europe. The 19-year-old was expected to leave Genk at the end of the current campaign but could depart this month as the race for his signature intensifies.
Everton and Bournemouth are also vying to sign Bailey and the Daily Mail claims Roma and Bayer Leverkusen could lodge bids for the coveted winger this month. The clubs are believed to be preparing £20m (€23m) bids and could spark a bidding war.
Chelsea and Liverpool et al were planning on waiting until the summer to swoop for Bailey but are ready to put their hands in their respective pockets now. Genk are open to selling the young Jamaican prospect and hope to negotiate a deal that would see him stay in Belgium until the end of the season. Ligue 1 sides Lyon and Nice are also in the hunt for Bailey, who has scored twice in 18 league appearances this season.
Bailey is seen as the latest wunderkind developed by Genk's fabled youth academy. Kevin De Bruyne, Thibaut Courtois, Christian Benteke and Yannick Ferreira-Carrasco have all come through the Smurfs' ranks in recent years, while Wilfried Ndidi completed a move to Leicester City this month in a deal worth £15m.
Manchester United were also reported to be interested in the teenager, who said in a recent interview that he dreams of the Premier League but would be happy to stay at Genk in order to receive regular game-time.
"I've always dreamt of the Premier League," Bailey told HLN Sport, quoted by Sky Sports."But if, let's say, Man United can't guarantee me minutes, I will stay at Genk.
"The important thing is that in the near future there a lot of games to come. This is essential for me because I have to take more steps. I've already made a lot of progress."