Everton face tough competition from Monaco to sign Belgian teenager Youri Tielemans, whom Anderlecht value at €25 million (£20.9 million) and impressed over two legs against Manchester United in the Europa League quarter-finals.
The 19-year-old has been looked at by a number of mid-ranking English clubs but the high transfer fee being demanded by Anderlecht has put them off.
He is regarded as a potential replacement at Everton for Ross Barkley should the club sell the England international this summer – as Ronald Koeman has threatened to do – even though Tielemans is a different kind of player.
His best position is thought to be as a box-to-box midfielder but as a replacement for Barkley he would have to be more of a No 10. However, he is the perfect profile for Monaco, who have made a virtue of snapping up good young talent from across Europe and moulding them into the team who are taking the Champions League by storm.
France international Tiemoué Bakayoko was brought in by Monaco from Rennes; Thomas Lemar came from Caen and Benjamin Mendy moved from Marseille to join the upwardly mobile leaders of Ligue 1. With some of the team that have reached the Champions League semi-finals likely to be on the move this summer for considerable fees, Tielemans has been identified by Monaco as a good way of reinvesting money.
The other attraction for the Belgian is that Monaco are promising regular first-team football, which would not necessarily be guaranteed at this stage of his career in the Premier League. Tielemans made his debut for Anderlecht aged 16 and has amassed 132 league appearances alone as well as breaking through into the Belgium national team.
The assuredness of his performances against United – he was captain in the first leg – have done nothing to change the opinion that Tielemans has an excellent future. The key decision he now faces is choosing a club where he will continue to play regularly.