Manchester City are ready to fend off interest from Real Madrid in young striker Liam Delap.
The 18-year-old’s stock has risen quickly at The Etihad after his move from Derby’s youth team in July 2019. The son of former Stoke man Rory Delap has bagged 20 goals in 15 games in Premier League 2 for City this season. That has led to Spanish giants Real registering their interest in the Winchester-born attacker.
The Daily Star reports that Los Blancos “have made contact with his representatives to declare an interest” and they are watching his progress intently.
Zinedine Zidane’s men are pondering a move for Delap after their scouts sent glowing reports about the player’s development.
He has already made his senior debut, scoring against Bournemouth in the Carabao Cup last September. Pep Guardiola was delighted with his showing for the first team and hailed his finishing prowess.
Guardiola has drafted Delap, who has now made three senior appearances, in to train regularly with the first team for much of this season.
“If I am honest, no,” Delap told City’s official website, when asked if he expected to make senior bow this season.
“Even in the summer before I made my debut, I wasn’t expecting anything. During the first lockdown I got told I would be training with the first team and it carried on into the start of the season.
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“It progressed rapidly. I wasn’t expecting it to be that quick.”
Delap has also scored twice for City’s Under-18s in their FA Youth Cup win over Birmingham and says training with the first team has helped him progress.
Delap improving quickly
“It’s helped me massively,” he added.
“They are the best players, to be learning from and training with every day as a young player coming through. You look at Phil [Foden] as an example. He has been in that position and he is flying now.
“Being around them teaches you so many things and improves you to make you an all-round better player.
“It’s made my technical side of the game better. It is helping me do things a lot quicker. Training with the first team you don’t get as much time, so it helps me think quicker.”
City will be loathed to lose Delap, who is regarded as one of their brightest talents. He is under contract until 2023.
City did lose Brahim Diaz to Real in January 2019 in a deal worth over £20m and they will want to avoid a repeat scenario. While jadon Sancho left for Borussia Dortmund, aged just 17, in August 2017 for £8m.