GENOA striker Petro Pellegri is quickly becoming one of the hottest properties in European football, wanted by a host of Premier League and Serie A clubs.
The 16-year-old forward became the joint-youngest ever Serie A debutant last year and is now establishing himself as a regular feature at first-team level.
On the radar of Manchester United and Chelsea, our friends at Football Whispers profile the latest Italian teenage sensation.
Who is Pietro Pellegri?
Pellegri has been highlighted as a prospect of real potential for several years now.
Along with 15-year-old team-mate Eddy Salcedo, he’s been tipped for the first team at the Stadio Luigi Ferraris for some time and he is becoming a key player for the Grifone.
An Italy under-17 international, Pellegri caught the eye of Manchester United in 2015 after impressing in a youth tournament.
The Red Devils, in their attempts to entice the player to the Premier League, offered his father, who is an administrative manager at Genoa, a role at the club.
They even tried to woo the player with tickets to a game against Chelsea at Old Trafford.
But, smartly, Pellegri decided to stay at Genoa, where his path to senior football had already been defined.
He made his Serie A debut away to Torino in December 2016, coming off the bench to replace Tomas Rincon.
In doing so, aged just 15 years and 280 days, he equalled ex-Roma star Amadeo Amadei in becoming the Italian top-flight’s joint-youngest player, a record which had stood for almost 80 years.
His first goal for Genoa came on the last day of the 2016-17 season, against Roma at the Stadio Olimpico.
The game was to be Francesco Totti’s last as a footballer, and Pellegri threatened to upset the Italian legend’s farewell party, but Roma recovered to win the game 3-2.
That goal made Pellegri the first player born in 2001 to score in Serie A, and gave the world a glimpse of what was to come from the gifted teenager.
In a recent game against Lazio, Pellegri came on as a first-half substitute and scored twice against Simone Inzaghi’s men.
The double saw him become the youngest ever player to score a brace in any of Europe’s big five leagues.
It proved to be an emotional moment for the Pellegri family, as the young player’s father was on the Genoa bench for the game and was pictured in tears of joy at seeing his son score.
Pellegri was shown footage of his father’s reaction during a post-match interview and he himself was brought to tears by the sight.
Stylistically, at 6ft 4ins and still growing, it would be easy to pigeonhole Pellegri as a powerful target man, but there is so much more to his game than aerial prowess.
He as a brilliant first touch, tremendous awareness of his surroundings, the agility to contort his body to hit shots on target from any angle, and is a cool finisher when through on goal.
How much will he cost?
Inter Milan are thought to be at the front the queue of major Italian clubs chasing Pellegri’s signature.
They reportedly saw a double bid for both the striker and team-mate Salcedo, worth £27million plus add-ons and the return to Genoa on loan of both players, rejected.
In the current market, with Kylian Mbappe, 18, set to complete a £168m permanent move to PSG next summer, it’s impossible to gauge how much a player of Pellegri’s potential is worth.
It is fair to say, however, that any club hoping to prise him away from Genoa will have to break the bank.
Who will he join?
Manchester United have been monitoring his progress for several years and have already been rebuffed in their efforts to sign the Italian once.
But the club from Old Trafford have not been put off and, in light of his recent form, it is claimed the Red Devils are keen to bring Pellegri to the Prem in the near future.
He is also a Chelsea transfer target, with Antonio Conte an admirer.
However, Pellegri is a die-hard Genoa fan who cherishes memories of cheering on his beloved club from the stands as a child with his dad.
He has spoken of wanting to emulate Totti in becoming that rarest of football figures: the one-club man.