Manchester City and Liverpool have reportedly identified Villarreal winger Alex Baena as a potential transfer target.
The two Premier League giants were active during the summer window, making a mixture of high-profile additions and signings which are viewed for the future.
However, the North-West outfits will naturally look for other transfers as the season progresses, particularly if they are required to strengthen in January.
Whether any bids materialise remains to be seen, but it appears that Pep Guardiola and Jurgen Klopp already have their sights set on a young playmaker.
According to Fichajes, the Spaniard and German have been left encouraged by the development of Baena.
Despite being yet to make a start for Villarreal in La Liga this campaign, the 21-year-old has already chipped in with three goals.
A double came in a 27-minute cameo at Real Valladolid on August 13, while he also netted the Yellow Submarine’s equaliser against Sevilla before the international break.
Baena’s most eye-catching contributions have come in the Europa Conference League with three goals being scored in the games with Lech Poznan and Hapoel Beer Sheva.
The wideman’s efforts this campaign follow his performances in the second tier for Girona in 2021-22, Baena providing five goals and six assists during his temporary club’s promotion season.
Villarreal are currently in a strong position with regards to Baena’s future, his contract being due to expire at the end of 2024-25.
However, there is said to be a €35m (£30.59m) release clause in that deal, something which could be exploited if Baena continues on his current trajectory.
Villarreal are reportedly keen to hold discussions with the Spain Under-21 international as they anticipate him becoming a regular in Unai Emery‘s side in the future.
The report adds that other Premier League and top European clubs are expected to put forward their interest if Baena performs at a high level on a consistent basis.