Crystal Palace are eyeing a move for talented VfL Bochum centre-back Armel Bella-Kotchap this summer.
The Eagles are keen to bring their average age down ahead of the 2020/21 campaign and will target younger talent in the upcoming transfer market.
The Athletic report that 18-year-old Bella-Kotchap could be the start of their youth revolution after excelling in Germany's second tier for Bochum last season.
Bella-Kotchap also drew plenty of praise for his handling of Robert Lewandowski during his side's narrow defeat to Bayern Munich in the second round of the DFB-Pokal last October.
Nevertheless, Palace are expected to face plenty of competition for the teenager's signature this summer. Chelsea are understood to have previously held talks with the player's representatives, while a whole host of Europe's elite also keeping an eye on the teenager's situation - including Manchester United, Manchester City, Barcelona and Real Madrid.
The Paris-born stalwart recently signed a new deal to remain in Germany until 2024, but Bochum are purportedly open to entertaining offers. It's understood Palace won't have to spend much more than £6.5m to secure the talented German's services either.
The Eagles' pursuit of the Bella-Kotchap is a 'conscious move' to look for younger players in the transfer market, and the club set to target talent who'll command smaller transfer fees and take lower wages but could potentially have significant resale value further down the line.
All four of Palace’s centre-backs are 30 or over, while Mamadou Sakho’s future is uncertain, with interest from Lyon and the player favouring a move back to his French homeland.
It is unclear whether Bella-Kotchap would be considered a first-team player immediately, given his relative inexperience, or whether he would spend time with the club’s Under-23 side while training regularly with the senior squad.
The German has shown maturity in his relatively short sample size at a senior level, however, and would be some coup for Roy Hodgson if Palace were able to strike a deal.
Source : 90min