Belgian winger Zakaria Bakkali is one of the hottest young talents in Dutch football right now, but Eredivisie club PSV Eindhoven may be set to lose the 18-year-old this summer amid intense transfer speculation.
Is now the right time for Bakkali to move on?
Rumours surrounding Bakkali’s future are nothing new. The likes of Arsenal have been touted as potential suitors for months, via Jamie Sanderson of Metro, and there has been wide belief that the winger’s long-term future may lie away from the Philips Stadion.
However, the talk of Bakkali’s potential departure has stepped up a notch with the likes of Liverpool, Tottenham and Valencia, as per Dutch outlet Sport/Voetbalmagazine (h/t talkSPORT), all being heavily linked to a summer switch.
One of the believed reasons behind Bakkali’s reportedly imminent sale is the player’s unwillingness to commit his long-term future to the Eindhoven club. According to Football Oranje’s Twitter account, the young winger has refused to sign an extension to his contract, which has just 12 months left to run.
Bakkali refusing to sign new deal. One year left on contract. PSV demoted him to reserves. Player rumoured to have poor attitude.— Dutch Football (@football_oranje) July 16, 2014
With the talented youngster available to leave the Dutch club on a free transfer next season, the club may be forced into accepting a cut-price deal for one of their most prized assets.
The youthful winger burst onto the scene at the start of this season with three goals in the August victory over NEC Nijmegen, becoming the youngest player in Eredivisie history to achieve the feat, aged just 17 years and 196 days.
Since then, he has gone on to make his debut for Marc Wilmots’ national side, and despite not being named in Belgium’s 23-man party for this summer’s FIFA World Cup, he is already being heralded as a future Red Devils star.
The fact Bakkali only started seven Eredivisie matches gives a clear indication that he is still some way short of being ready to emerge as a world-class player, but he is certainly one of Europe’s most exciting young prospects. It is inevitable that the teenager will move on to bigger and better things at some stage in the future; it just appears that time may come sooner rather than later.
Is Bakkali ready for the big move to one of Europe’s elite teams? Post your thoughts below.