Bakkali, who won his first senior cap for Belgium last year, has just a further year to run on his PSV contract after this coming summer and it is far from certain that the winger-cum-forward will agree to extend that arrangement.
That is not lost on Bakkali’s suitors, a group which includes Liverpool and Real Madrid, according to Dutch daily De Telegraaf, the pair being very serious in their interest in the former Standard Liege youth player.
Bakkali has gradually throughout the Belgian youth-system risen and become a reliable goal-scorer. Scoring 7 goals on 9 games for the Belgian U17 national side, he became promoted to the U21s; gaining trust from the coach Johan Walem.
After Bakkali’s superb Champions League-debut, Belgium coach Marc Wilmots selected him in the 25-man squad in the friendly-game against France. Due to a training injury sustained the day before the game, he pulled out of the squad. With his dual nationality and without full international appearances, he still had the choice to play for the Moroccan national football team, but on 7 October 2013 (shortly before Belgium’s last two 2014 World Cup qualifiers) he formally opted for the Belgian squad.
The youthful winger burst onto the scene at the start of this season with three goals in the August victory over NEC Nijmegen, becoming the youngest player in Eredivisie history to achieve the feat, aged just 17 years and 196 days.
Since then the 18-year-old has gone on to win many fans, including Belgium national team coach Marc Wilmots. Bakkali made his senior debut as a 78th minute substitute in October’s 1-1 draw with Wales, committing his international future to Rode Duivels in the process. Bakkali could yet force his way into Belgium’s World Cup squad, albeit as a reserve. Even if he doesn’t, the future looks bright for the Liege-born winger.
Meanwhile, his former employers, Standard Liege are eyeing a reunion with Bakkali too, while fellow Belgian side Anderlecht are keeping tabs on the 18-year-old’s situation.
PSV had been expecting Bakkali to sign a senior contract when he turned 18 in late January, but so far that has not happened. There are signs doubts over his future may also be affecting Bakkali’s football, with the youngster clocking up just 21 minutes on the pitch since the Dutch winter break.
Already, the PSV man has drawn comparisons to compatriot Eden Hazard and the youngster is highly regarded throughout Europe, with some of the continent’s biggest clubs reportedly monitoring the youngster’s progression with plans of a summer bid.
Bakkali remains the youngster player to score a hat-trick in the Eredivisie, having struck at the age of 17 years and 196 days.
No official bids have been made yet and the Belgian’s contract at PSVruns until 2015. Nonetheless, coach Phillip Cocu may already be resigned to losing one of his most promising youngsters.