Arsenal and Chelsea will send scouts to the Africa Cup of Nations to watch Ousmane Diomande in action this month.
The Sporting Lisbon centre-back is part of the Ivory Coast team competing as host nation at the tournament, with Diomande one of the most in-demand talents at AFCON.
The 20-year-old has starred since joining Sporting from FC Midtjylland last January, emerging as one of the best young defenders in Europe.
This season, Diomande ranks third for pass completion (91%) and passes into the final third (94) in Portugal’s Primeira Liga, while ranking second for percentage of dribblers tackled (83.3%), and sixth for progressive carrying distance.
Diomande’s mix of defensive awareness and proactivity with the ball in possession have alerted Europe’s elite clubs and Portugal’s Record are claiming London rivals Arsenal and Chelsea are leading the chase.
Diomande is understood to have a release clause of €80m (£69m) in his contract at the Estádio José Alvalade and the Portuguese league leaders will demand that figure is met to sanction the centre-back’s sale this month.
The defender helped his side to a clean sheet as Ivory Coast kickstarted AFCON with a 2-0 win over Guinea-Bissau on Saturday.