Atletico Madrid have reportedly joined a number of top continental clubs interested in signing Brighton defender Tariq Lamptey.
The 20-year-old joined The Seagulls in January after losing patience with Chelsea. It appears to have been a good decision as the England Under-21 star has started all seven league games this term.
He made eight top-flight appearances last season for the south-coast outfit and is now enjoying a breakout campaign.
Having come up through the Chelsea youth system, Lamptey found it tough to break into the first team. He made just one Blues appearance in the league – playing 31 minutes against Arsenal on December 29 last year.
With so much talent at Stamford Bridge, it seemed inevitable he would have to move on. Chelsea’s loss is Brighton’s gain, with Graham Potter happy with how his new charge has settled in.
“A lot of the interpersonal qualities he’s got in terms of just wanting to help the team and wants to learn, wants to improve, are good,” he said. “He’s just a really coachable young guy.
“He’s obviously got a long way to go in his career, but we’re excited for him and at the same time we have to understand that he’s not played a lot of games, he’s only young.”
Bundesliga giants Bayern Munich have been credited with an interest while Spanish side Sevilla are also keen. The Mail have added Atletico’s name to his list of suitors but Brighton do not want to lose the starlet.
Talks are reportedly planned on a new deal after the next international break. Amex bosses want to make sure he stays with Potter’s side for many years.
The Londoner bagged his first goal for the club in Sunday’s 2-1 loss to Tottenham. He looks a full England international in waiting and other big clubs will doubtless show an interest.
March to the top for Solly
Lamptey’s immediate England future is at Under-21 level but team-mate Solly March may make the senior squad. Three Lions chief Gareth Southgate is short of options on the left side and March is an option.
The 26-year-old has been capped at Under-20 and Under-21 level but has now been tipped for a full call up. Games against Republic of Ireland, Belgium and Iceland are on the horizon.
He has started all seven of Brighton’s top-flight games this term, scoring one goal to date. The Eastbourne man is also in line for a new deal at the Amex, with other Premier League clubs linked.