Liverpool and Arsenal have joined Southampton, among a clutch of other clubs, in the race to sign Aaron Hickey from Hearts, according to Football365.
The 17-year-old has emerged as one of the most coveted defenders in Britain following some mature displays in the Scottish Premiership.
Hickey has established himself as a key player in Craig Levein’s side, and it seems interest is gathering ahead of the upcoming January transfer window.
Southampton may need to fend off a raft of enquiries from other Premier League clubs, though.
Liverpool and Arsenal are understood to be keen, while Manchester City, Norwich City, Crystal Palace, Aston Villa and Newcastle United are also touted as potential destinations for Hickey.
Read Southampton’s verdict
There are pros and cons to the young defender moving to any of these clubs. While the allure of a big transfer to the likes of Liverpool or City may appeal, it’s difficult to see how Hickey would push himself into the first team.
At clubs such as Newcastle and Southampton, though, there is greater space for growth, and with the prospect of regular minutes on the senior stage, their pulling power could be equally strong.
Saints, particularly, may be keen to add a new left-back to the squad in January. Jake Vokins has not stepped up to deputise Ryan Bertrand since Matt Targett’s sale, leaving Ralph Hasenhuttl without a known backup.
Also, Bertrand himself has hardly convinced with his showings this season, prompting the boss to chop and change his options on the left-hand side.
This, added to the fact that he is now 30-years-old and arguably with his best years behind him, means that signing another left-back, perhaps in the mould of Hickey, would be sensible.