Chelsea and Manchester City are reportedly leading the race to sign Dynamo Moscow starlet Arsen Zakharyan, who is also a target for Real Madrid.

According to an exclusive report from TEAMtalk, Chelsea and Manchester City have emerged as the frontrunners to capture the signing of Dynamo Moscow midfielder Arsen Zakharyan.

The 18-year-old playmaker signed for the Dynamo Moscow academy in January 2017 and has made rapid strides through the ranks, breaking into the senior team in 2020. Zakharyan caught the eye with his vision and ability to carve out chances for his teammates, soon establishing himself as a regular for the Russian giants.

The attacking midfielder has made 27 appearances so far, scoring five goals and setting up 12 more. Out of those, two goals and seven assists have come in the ongoing campaign, which earned him a call-up to the Russian national team. He has four caps for the international team so far, with his progress attracting interest from top clubs across Europe, including Chelsea.

The Blues have always shown a propensity to recruit the best young talents across Europe to bolster their ranks. While the first-team prospects of such youngsters were not always bright at Stamford Bridge, that has changed in recent years with several youth players going on to establish themselves at the senior level.

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So, Chelsea’s interest in Zakharyan should not come as a major surprise. With question marks surrounding the futures of Hakim Ziyech and Ross Barkley, and Christian Pulisic struggling to establish himself as a regular, the 18-year-old Russian international could be a handy addition for the west London giants with an eye on the future.

However, as per the report mentioned above, Chelsea will need to stave off interest from arch-rivals Manchester City, who are also very much in contention to sign Zakharyan. The reigning Premier League champions have a world-class academy churning out special talents like Phil Foden, Liam Delap, Cole Palmer, among others.

Another such young prospect, James McAtee, is being linked with an exit with his contract running out in a little over eighteen months. And with Kevin De Bruyne not getting any younger, the time might be right for Manchester City to start laying down a succession plan, with Zakharyan’s playmaking capabilities making him a worthy candidate.

Apart from Chelsea and Manchester City, Real Madrid have also taken a strong interest in the 18-year-old midfielder. With the futures of Luka Modric, Isco, Dani Ceballos all uncertain beyond the ongoing campaign, signing another midfielder like Zakharyan would be a good move by the Merengues, as the Russian can be groomed to take over a bigger role in the future.

The report, however, claims that Chelsea and Manchester City are currently the frontrunners for the 18-year-old, who is also on the radars of Atletico Madrid, Sevilla, AS Roma, Ajax, Atalanta, PSV Eindhoven and Everton. It remains to be seen who among the two comes out on top in the race to land Zakharyan.

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