According to reports, Chelsea and Newcastle have joined the race to sign Brighton target Valentin Barco from Boca Juniors.
The 19-year-old has emerged as one of the best young players in Argentina and he has already made 22 senior appearances for Boca Juniors.
The left-back has been heavily linked with a move to the Premier League over the past couple of weeks.
It was initially claimed that Manchester City are leading the race to acquire Barco, with it indicated that they are ‘set’ to ‘beat’ Juventus and Brighton to the teenager.
There is currently a £8m release clause in Barco’s contract but it’s been claimed that Boca Juniors are set to agree on a renewal with the talented youngster that will include an increased £16m release clause.
But a fresh update from 90min claims Brighton are currently ‘leading the chase’ to get Barco, but they are facing competition from clubs around Europe.
It is stated that ‘Boca Juniors are hopeful of agreeing a new contract with defensive starlet Barco to keep him out of the reach of various clubs in Europe’ but Brighton are ‘in pole position’ to land him. The report adds.
‘The Seagulls have held talks with the player’s representatives about a prospective deal ahead of a potential move in 2024.
‘However, Brighton, who have a stellar record when it comes to finding and developing South American talent, are not alone in admiring Barco. 90min understands that Chelsea, Manchester City, Newcastle, Brentford, Wolves and Nottingham Forest have all watched him in recent weeks.
‘As well as the Premier League suitors, sources have revealed that Celtic, Bayer Leverkusen, Borussia Dortmund, Benfica, Porto, Roma, Juventus, PSG and Monaco have also checked on Barco.
‘His current deal runs to December 2024 and has a release clause of $10m (£8m). That is one reason why Boca are keen to agree a new contract, so they can increase his clause or even remove it.’
Boca Juniors vice-president Juan Roman Riquelme suggested that Barca is a “technically very good player”.
“[Barco] is a cheeky lad. We are here to accompany and take care of the boys,” Riquelme said.
“For them, it is a dream to be training every day with players like (Dario) Benedetto, (Marcos) Rojo, (Edinson) Cavani, (Sergio) Romero.
“They have to learn from the greatest because it will help them a lot.
“Barco is a technically very good player and we are very happy to have him with us.”