CHELSEA face a battle to hang on to rising star Ike Ugbo after rejecting a £3million offer for their emerging striker.
Ugbo, 22, is impressing on loan in Belgium at Cercle Bruge where he has hit the headlines by scoring 10 goals in 15 games.
It has triggered a bid from Russian top-flight club FC Rostov – which has already been turned down by the Blues.
But Londoner Ugbo’s progression on loan is causing rival clubs to take notice of the Chelsea academy kid, who has been with them since Under-10 level.
Ugbo won the FA Youth Cup under then Chelsea U-18 coach Jody Morris, who is now assistant to first team head coach Frank Lampard.
He has also represented England at youth level and is under contract at Chelsea until 2022 after extending his contract last season.
Ugbo has also been on loan at Barnsley, Scunthorpe and in Holland with FC Roda and is a highly-rated product of Chelsea’s youth academy.
He is eager to follow in the footsteps of fellow academy graduates Tammy Abraham, Mason Mount and Reece James by breaking into the first team at Stamford Bridge.
Speaking earlier this month, Ugbo said: "I’m a true Londoner and, in my eyes, Chelsea will always be the biggest club in the capital.
"Chelsea would be the ultimate dream. As a kid, I admired Didier Drogba and John Terry.
"It’s up to me to prove that I’m ready for an eventual return."
A number of youngsters have found success in recent years after quitting Chelsea on a permanent basis in search of first-team action.
Nathan Ake impressed in three seasons at Bournemouth to earn a £41m switch to Manchester City, while Tariq Lamptey has earned rave reviews at Brighton.
On the continent, Jeremie Boga has established himself in Serie A with Sassuolo, scoring 11 league goals last term.
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