Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich have entered the race for West Brom’s academy star Reyes Cleary.
Cleary has been catching the eye of some top clubs across Europe, with the German giants the latest to declare an interest, according to the Daily Mail.
Bayern sent scouts to watch Cleary in action for West Brom in their Under-23s match against Stoke City last month.
Fellow German sides Borussia Dortmund, Schalke and Hoffenheim are also said to be keeping tabs on the youngster. Premier League sides Crystal Palace and Newcastle United are also said to be interested.
The news is unlikely to go down well with Albion boss Valerien Ismael, who has made clear his wish to retain the club’s brightest young prospects.
Ismael said: “When I came here I said straight away it was to implement a philosophy and give a chance to young players.
“We need to create an identity for the fans and to keep our young players here in the club.
“The first thing I heard when I came here is that the good players go away to Aston Villa and Crystal Palace and we need to stop this. It’s my job to give the chance to young players but not just in the 85th or 90th minute when we are 5-0 up but in a real situation.
“In pre-season I recognised straight away that we had three or four players who could play with us. In the last three months the under-23s have had exactly the same way of playing, the same principles and when the players need to play with us they know straight away what they have to do.”
The 17-year-old is yet to sign a permanent deal at The Hawthorns. But the Baggies hope they can convince him to stay in the West Midlands.
He has been in good form for West Brom’s academy sides this season, with 14 goals in 12 games so far this season, including a brace in his last game against Leicester City. He has split his time this season between the Under-18s and the Under-23s.
Another success story at West Brom
Cleary, who has been likened to Romelu Lukaku in style, could be the latest of a long line of academy successes for West Brom.
Defender Ugo Ehiogu started out at West Brom. Leeds striker Tyler Roberts, Sheffield Wednesday striker Saido Berahino and midfielder Romain Sawyers are more recent successes.
In a similar story, striker Louie Barry managed to follow a similar path from West Brom. He was able to get the chance to continue his development with Spanish giants Barcelona. He would stay there for six months, before returning closer to home to Aston Villa.
While West Brom will no doubt be keen to keep him at the club for as long as possible, the temptation of moving to a bigger club may prove too much.