Schalke midfielder Weston McKennie is being chased by five Premier League teams ahead of a likely exit from the German side this summer.
21-year-old McKennie only signed a new contract last summer but is now heading for the exit door at the Veltins-Arena as Schalke find themselves needing to sell players to balance the books.
His availability has piqued the interest of Southampton, who are on the lookout for a replacement for Pierre-Emile Højbjerg after the Dane's move to Tottenham. McKennie is one of several candidates on the radar, along with Celtic's Olivier Ntcham another.
However, a source has confirmed to 90min that the Saints are not alone in their pursuit of McKennie. Everton, Aston Villa, Newcastle and West Ham have all seen Southampton attempt to steal a march and have now expressed an interest of their own.
The quartet are all keeping a close eye on McKennie's situation, and they have been encouraged by the news that moving to the Premier League is the midfielder's priority this summer.McKennie believes it is now the right time to leave Schalke, who fell down to 12th in the Bundesliga last season and have faced numerous accusations of behind-the-scenes turmoil. They set a club record of 16 league games without a win between January and June and saw their European hopes evaporate in startling fashion.
Goalkeeper Alexander Nübel has already sealed a move to Bayern Munich and McKennie wants to follow suit with his own exit.
A fee of around £22.5m has previously been suggested, but Schalke will hope to spark a bidding war and raise some more money to help address their debt, which is believed to stand at close to the £180m mark.
90min understands that Liverpool have stepped up their scouting of McKennie and have identified him as a potential star of the future, but the Reds are unlikely to act on their interest this summer and would instead prefer to wait and see how his development pans out.
Source : 90min