Manchester United and Manchester City have both scouted Inter Milan defender Lorenzo Pirola with a view to launching respective bids for his signature.
The 17-year-old has been tipped for a bright future at the highest level since signing his first professional contract at San Siro, but has yet to earn his senior debut for the Serie A giants.
Pirola is currently away on international duty with Italy at the U17 World Cup, where he has helped his country reach the knockout phases after wins over Mexico and the Soloman Islands.
The Inter starlet even scored in Italy’s final group stage defeat to Paraguay on Sunday, where he was watched by Man City representatives – as per the Daily Mail.
Man United scouts took in Pirola’s performance against Mexico last Thursday and have reportedly been keeping a close eye on his progress for a while.
FC Inter News reports that the two Manchester clubs are now set to compete in the transfer market for the teenage centre-back, but his current employers are likely to reject any formal bids.
Pirola’s displays at the U17 World Cup have followed his impressive contribution to Italy’s runner’s up campaign at the European Under-17 Championship earlier this year, where he was named in the team of the tournament.
Inter will do everything they can to keep hold of a highly-rated prospect, but a potential move to Old Trafford or the Etihad Stadium may prove too tempting to turn down.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer seems focused on bringing young, talented players to Old Trafford rather than household names, and Pirola certainly meets that criteria given his age and potential.
City, meanwhile, continue to scout Europe’s most promising players as Pep Guardiola aims to maintain their dominance of English football while also conquering the Champions League.
Speculation over Pirola’s future looks set to rumble on into the new year, but it is not yet clear whether he would be open to leaving Inter at this stage of his career.