Barcelona and Real Madrid are reportedly ready to vie for the signature of Valencia starlet Ferran Torres.
According to reports from Valencia (h/t Sport), the 17-year-old has piqued interest in the two La Liga giants and is rated as one of the brightest prospects in Spanish football at the moment.
It's suggested Barca and Real have been keeping an eye on his development for the last 12 months, with each said to be willing to pay the release clause of €8 million (£7 million) currently in the player's contract.
As relayed by Sport, Plaza Deportiva said Los Che want to extend Torres' contract beyond 2019 and boost the trigger fee in his deal to €25 million (£22 million). In addition to the two La Liga sides, Paris Saint-Germain and Juventus are also said to have asked about the availability of the young midfielder.
David Cartlidge picked up on the talent of Torres when Spain won the UEFA European Under-17 Championship earlier in the year:
David Cartlidge @davidjaca
Ferrán Torres standing out the most, young Valencia player. Real live wire. Barça’s Abel Ruiz (ex-Valencia), the captain, scored again too.2017-3-15 18:27:43
According to an earlier report from Sergio Santos and Sergio Gomez of AS, the teenager has been compared with Spanish superstar Marco Asensio, who joined Real Madrid from Mallorca early in his career and is now considered to be one of the best young players in the world.
Santos and Gomez noted that "Real Madrid have been monitoring his progress for some time and the teenager even made a couple of visits to the club's training complex in Valdebebas last season."
Madrid have made a habit of snapping up some of the best emerging talent in Spanish football in recent years.
Their squad is full of youthful stars, including Asensio, Dani Ceballos, Marcos Llorente, Theo Hernandez and Jesus Vallejo; they have even put a deal in place to secure Brazilian Vinicius Jr. With that type of transfer strategy in mind, Torres will no doubt be a player on their radar.
Barcelona were formerly renowned for having a conveyor belt of quality ready to step up into the first team. But the talent pushing for starting spots at the club's La Masia academy appears to be in short supply as things stands; Rob Palmer of Sky Sports suggested during the summer they need to invest as a result:
Rob Palmer @robbopalmer
It's now an absolute necessity Barcelona invest Current squad is woefully short & la Masia well is dry They'll have to pay the premiums2017-8-16 23:33:28
The Valencia youngster would be a start, as he has dynamism, technical ability and is versatile in terms of where he can line up—though it appears there will be a battle to secure Torres in the future between Madrid, Barcelona and other elite clubs across Europe.
Valencia will surely do all they can to keep Torres around at the Mestalla for as long as possible, but typically the best talents in Spanish football end up with one of the two biggest clubs in the country.