Liverpool and Manchester City are reported to be among the front-runners for Flamengo sensation Reinier Carvalho, as competition for the 17-year-old intensifies.
The attacking midfielder is yet to make a senior appearance at club level, but is fast gaining a reputation as one of the country's hottest prospects, and he has already scored three times in four appearances at this summer's South American Under-17 Championships.
So impressive have his displays been at youth level that he has garnered interest from Barcelona, Arsenal, Everton, AC Milan and Borussia Dortmund as well as a host of other clubs across the continent, with a move touted to cost any potential suitor in excess of £35m. On top of all this, the Mail now report that the stakes have been raised even higher, as Premier League's big hitters have arrived on the scene.
City and Liverpool set for battle to sign 17-year-old Flamengo midfielder Reinier. they paid a fee earlier this year with an agreement to sign the player when he turns 18 next January. Scouts are expected to watch him this week for Brazil U17s against Paraguay on Tuesday. pic.twitter.com/TDffJ56xiw— Lilian Chan (@bestgug) July 22, 2019
They say that interest from both sides has been registered by Flamengo, and scouts from both Merseyside and Manchester will be present when Brazil's youth side takes on Paraguay on Tuesday, and then again on Friday.
If interest leads to an offer, it should be noted that Brazilian regulations mean that he would not be eligible to join until December, when he turns 18.
The fear, however, is that waiting until then risks his value skyrocketing or another club getting in there first, so both Liverpool and City are keen to tie up a deal in advance - similar to Watford's deal for Fluminese's Joao Pedro.
From Liverpool's perspective, it would certainly follow the trend of their recent transfer dealings, as they have opted to focus recruitment efforts on the next generation of stars this summer. 17-year-old Sepp van den Berg has already signed, and Fulham prodigy Harvey Elliot is expected to follow in the foreseeable, so Reinier would make it a trifecta of red-hot prospects secured.
City, meanwhile, may look to the 17-year-old to compete with the emerging Phil Foden as the long-term heir to David Silva, who is set for his final season at the Etihad.