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Udinese and Stuttgart join chase for in-demand Irish teenager Festy Ebosele

Dubliner Jason Knight, right, has been linked with a move away from Derby County, alone with team-mate Festy Ebosele. Photo: PA Photo

Ireland's Festy Ebosele, right, in action against Emanuel Vignato of Italy during the UEFA European U21 Championship qualifier in Tallaght last November. Photo: Eóin Noonan/Sportsfile

Aidan Fitzmaurice

Bundesliga side Stuttgart have joined Italian outfit Udinese in expressing an interest in Irish teenager Festy Ebosele.

The Wexford lad is out of contract with Derby County at the end of the season and Wayne Rooney's side, who are in administration due to their financial issues, fear they will lose Ebosele.

A reported bid of £500,000 from Derby's bitter rivals Nottingham Forest was rejected last week but due to the background issues at Derby, who were docked 21 points this season due to their financial affairs, they are unlikely to be able to retain Ebosle.

Last week it was reported that the German trio of Wolfsburg, Freiburg and Mainz were interested in Ebosele but German media reports have linked him with Stuttgart.

But Udinese, who this week completed the signing of Ireland U19 cap James Abankwah from St Patrick’s Athletic in a €500,000 deal, have also been linked with Ebosele and their interest, given how quickly they completed the deal to sign Abankwah, could be significant.

The 19-year-old, who came through the ranks at St Joseph’s Boys, broke into the Derby first team last season with four appearances but he has played 20 times for Wayne Rooney’s outfit this season and boss Rooney has repeatedly praised Ebosele, who can play at full-back or in midfield.

“There has been a lot of development in him since he came in,” Rooney said.

“Of course, he’s raw and he’s quick. He’s a handful to play against, and you have been able to see so many improvements in terms of his positioning."

Rooney admitted earlier this month that, due to the fact that administrators are making key decisions at the club, he would have no say in whether players stayed or left. Dubliner Jason Knight has also been linked with a move away from Derby before the transfer window closes next week.

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