Manchester City have rejected an official bid of around £16 million from Premier League club Southampton for 19-year-old striker Liam Delap.

According to transfer expert Fabrizio Romano, Southampton approached reigning Manchester City about the possibility of signing Liam Delap on a permanent move, but the Premier League champions have swiftly turned down a £16 million bid.

Southampton are keen to raid Manchester City for their academy stars this summer. 18-year-old midfielder Romeo Lavia and the 20-year-old goalkeeper Gavin Bazunu have already joined the Saints on permanent deals. Both players went for similar transfer fees, and they have had buyback clauses inserted into their contracts.

Now it appears that Southampton are also interested in raiding Manchester City for highly-rated teenage forward Liam Delap. The 19-year-old is one of the most highly-touted youngsters in the Manchester City pipeline, boasting an impressive record in front of goal, having found the back of the net on 46 occasions in 55 outings for City’s youth sides, while providing a further 16 assists,

The Englishman, who has already featured six times under Pep Guardiola, is coming off the back of the Under-19 European Championship triumph, with England winning the tournament. Delap seemed to be destined to be the team’s go-to striker after Manchester City missed out on signing England captain Harry Kane.

However, an injury-plagued season, coupled with the immense success of Pep Guardiola’s false nine set-up, kept the 19-year-old on the sidelines for much of last season. The arrivals of Julian Alvarez and Erling Haaland this summer will make it difficult for Delap to get a look-in this season either. And the English forward is keen to get some game time under his belt.

As such, the teenage prodigy has no shortage of suitors, with a host of clubs, including Southampton, Brighton, and Burnley, interested in securing his services. Contracted to Manchester City until 2026, the Premier League champions reckon the best step for the 19-year-old is to get regular minutes elsewhere, but they are not prepared to let him leave on a permanent basis yet.

As per Fabrizio Romano, Manchester City have rejected a £16 million bid for Delap from Southampton, as they would prefer to loan him out instead. A switch to the second-tier is favoured, now that Manchester City legend Vincent Kompany is in-charge of Burnley.

In recent years, Southampton have adopted a transfer policy that focuses on targeting highly-rated young talents who are unlikely to get much first-team football at their clubs. That led to the arrivals of Tino Livramento and Armando Broja (on loan) from Chelsea last summer.

They have a similar strategy this summer under the Sport Republic ownership but are targeting Manchester City’s academy, having appointed the Citizens’ former Head of Youth Recruitment Joe Shields as their new transfer chief.

With Broja unlikely to return to St. Mary’s, the Saints have targeted Delap, who they view as an ideal fit. Technically, Southampton may still acquire one loanee from Manchester City under Premier League registration standards, but they will have to beat out significant competition from Burnley for Delap’s signature this summer.

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