Why Chilean superkid Bryan Rabello has Man City, Chelsea scrambling this week for talks
Barely known across Europe, Chile's latest wunderkind Bryan Rabello has England's biggest clubs scrambling for his signature this week.
Manchester City, Chelsea and Liverpool have all been in desperate contact with Colo Colo about Rabello's availability after revelations from Sevilla coach Michel that he expected the winger to join his club for the new season.
City boss Roberto Mancini, particularly, has been pushing hard for Rabello's management to convince the youngster to reverse his decision, but sources in both Spain and Chile say the deal is watertight and the only way the Premier League champs, or their bidding rivals, can convince Sevilla to give up their prized signing is by offering a huge compensation package.
But only adding to the confusion is Alejandro Santiesteban, Rabello's prime agent, who insists nothing has been decided. The 18 year-old is off contract at the end of the month and both Santiesteban and new Colo Colo sports chief Juan Gutierrez have assured fans he could still agree new terms.
"I am still a Colo Colo player," declared Rabello last week when asked about Michel's comments. "I want to stay, but I'm prepared if I have to leave.
"We'll see what happens in June."
Santiesteban admits the likes of City and Chelsea have been keeping tabs on Rabello since he broke into the Colo Colo first team as a 15 year-old.
"We have had talks with Sevilla, but we have also talked with other top clubs in Europe, where he has created interest from a very young age," said the representative.
"There is room to stay in Colo Colo. It is not a matter of urgency, since his priority is to finish well here and win the title with his team. At season's end everything will be decided."
City and Chelsea, where Jorge Alvial has recommended Rabello to technical chief Michael Emenalo, would favour the youngster spending another year at home with Colo Colo on-loan before making the move to Europe.
Even Colo Colo coach Luis Perez appears to favour the Premier League approach.
"Here he is a permanent fixture. The easy thing would be to let him go, but he has to take his development slowly. In the senior team, we take the same approach.
"He's playing for the U20 Chile team and has trained with the senior squad. It's good experience for him, he learns what is required to reach that level."
Perez admits he regards Rabello as one of the best young players he's seen. He's now worked with the youngster for three years and says he's a rare talent.
"The first time I saw him he would have been eleven years old. I spent three seasons with him. It was special to have a little boy doing such great things ... I was surprised by the talent he had, it was unusual and he soon started playing at higher levels than his normal age group."
Perez adds: "The fans liken him to Mati Fernandez. But I believe he is better. He's more dynamic and his movement for someone so young is exceptional."
Despite his ambition, Rabello recognises the grounding Colo Colo is currently giving him.
"Everyone here has helped me since I started playing for the seniors. When you've grown up here, you learn about the pressure that comes with playing for Colo Colo."
But for all the noises made about staying in Santiago to continue his development, Sevilla insiders insist they have Rabello's signature on a five-year pre-contract - though won't confirm anything public while the Chilean season is still alive.
Colo Colo management are kicking themselves after a blow-up last year over a buyout clause has led to Rabello - unless a late change of heart - now being on the brink of leaving for less than £350,000 in compensation.
No matter what happens Sevilla appear the big winners. Michel sees Rabello as a readymade first teamer. But even if the youngster suddenly declares he wants to move to England, Sevilla's demands will give them a huge profit on the compo fee due Colo Colo.