Real Madrid are reportedly ready to rival Premier League outfits Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur for the signature of Fulham youngster Ryan Sessegnon after impressing the Spanish club's scouts.
Spanish newspaper AS (h/t TalkSport) reported the left-sided specialist is courting increased attention from some of Europe's powerhouses, with United and Spurs also believed to be raising their interest this winter.
According to the report, Sessegnon was close to joining Tottenham before he agreed his first professional contract with Fulham in June, penning a three-year deal that will keep him at the club until 2020.
Since then, the 17-year-old has developed his talents at Craven Cottage and is capable of playing anywhere on the left flank. He appears to be enjoying his senior duties in west London:
Sessegnon wouldn't be guaranteed the same assurances at the likes of Real, United or Spurs, however. So while the interest of Europe's big guns is flattering, they may struggle to tempt the starlet away from his current setting.
Paul Abbandonato of Wales Online recently hailed the winger's talent as that of an elite calibre in the Championship:
Fulham manager Slavisa Jokanovic has also spoken of his belief the player will remain with the Cottagers for the foreseeable future, although he admitted there is a chance Sessegnon could leave, per James Benge of the Evening Standard:
“Yes [I am confident], if we want to be competitive we must keep our important players."
“All the questions are what the value of this player is, but myself, as a coach, I prefer to stay with the more important players for the competition that is ahead of us, but on the other side I can understand the business side too.
“In this moment, I am not thinking of being without him for the season, but it is not under my control."
Sessegnon's attacking potential was on show when he netted a match-winning hat-trick in Fulham's 5-4 win over Sheffield United in November, and he added his fifth goal of the season in a 4-2 win over Cardiff City on Tuesday:
While United have experienced some woes at left-back with the likes of Daley Blind, Matteo Darmian and Luke Shaw—who have all struggled to impress manager Jose Mourinho—Real are said to be seeking alternatives to Marcelo.
Jose Felix Diaz of Spanish daily Marca backed up those claims, writing that confidence in Brazilian full-back Marcelo is at something of a low, while Sky Sports' Jim White previously reported on Spurs' reason for chasing Sessegnon:
Although the teenager's roots may lie in defence, he seems to be set on a trajectory not unlike that of Real star Gareth Bale, who found success as a winger after being moved from left-back while at Spurs.
The question for Sessegnon now is whether he would be willing to take the risk of unsettling his rhythm with a high-profile move as Fulham look to secure promotion from the Championship with him as one of their star assets.