Barcelona, Real Madrid, Liverpool and Manchester United are reportedly vying for the signature of 16-year-old Udinese prodigy Simone Pafundi.

According to an exclusive report by The Sun, Simone Pafundi is one of the most highly sought-after whizkids in Europe, with some of the biggest clubs in Europe hot on his heels ahead of the summer transfer window. Barcelona, Real Madrid, Liverpool and Manchester United are keen on signing the 16-year-old Udinese attacker.

Simone Pafundi spent his initial formative years at hometown club Monfalcone before joining Udinese after impressing their scouts in a local tournament in 2014. The 16-year-old has since gone from strength to strength in the Friulani’s youth setup before earning his first-team bow last month.

The teenage wonderkid made his debut for Udinese in their last game of the season, thus becoming the first player born in 2006 to ever take part in a Serie A match. And Pafundi’s progress has not gone unnoticed, with some of the most high-profile clubs in Europe, including Barcelona, Real Madrid, Liverpool and Manchester United, keen on signing him.

At FC Barcelona, the infamous image of the lack of a clear pathway to first-team football from La Masia has been disappearing lately, thanks to their financial crisis. Several young prospects, including Pedri, Gavi and Nico Gonzalez, have benefitted from Barcelona’s woes. And Pafundi might have the chance to quickly progress to the senior squad if he arrives from Udinese.

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As for Real Madrid, the Merengues are renowned for constantly searching for some of the brightest young prospects in Europe and beyond to bolster La Fabrica. Several first-team regulars, including Vinicius Junior, have arrived at the Santiago Bernabeu due to this outlook. Noel Lopez is the latest prodigious youngster on Real Madrid’s radar, with Pafundi now emerging as a target.

Meanwhile, Liverpool and Manchester United have also poached youngsters across Europe for their youth setups for decades before creating a clear pathway to the first-team squad for them. Tyler Morton is the latest benefactor of the same at Liverpool, while Alejandro Garnacho could be on a similar path at Manchester United, who will soon hand the Argentine a new contract.

But while Pafundi might be a viable target for Liverpool and Manchester United, the Premier League heavyweights will not be able to pursue the 16-year-old. Brexit means British clubs cannot launch the offensive for youth players from Europe until they are 18. The ball is thus in Barcelona and Real Madrid’s court, and it will be interesting to see if they make their moves this summer.

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