Sam Allardyce is in a £3million fight with Italian giants Napoli for Slovenia whizzkid Rajko Rep.
Blackburn boss Allardyce wants to sign the 20-year-old hitman in the January transfer window.
But Napoli chief Walter Mazzarri is also keen to snap up the Maribor striker, who is rated as one of Europe’s top young talents.
Big Sam and Mazzarri have been constantly monitoring Rep’s form this season and have been impressed with his performances for the team he has supported since childhood.
Dutch giants Ajax, managed by former Spurs boss Martin Jol, are also chasing Rep’s signature, but the Slovenia Under-21 star feels the Dutch League is not a big enough stage on which to parade his skills.
He has targeted a move to the Premier League or Serie A in the New Year, and now it comes down to who offers him the best deal.
Napoli, who finished sixth in Italy’s top flight last term, are fourth this time around – four points adrift of leaders Lazio.
Allardyce, whose Rovers are looking to push into the top half of the Premier League, wants Rep as competition for Nikola Kalinic, Benjani, Mame Biram Diouf and Jason Roberts.
Rajko Rep (born 20 June 1990) is a Slovenian football midfielder, who plays for Maribor in Slovenian PrvaLiga.
Rep started his career at NK Mons Claudius from Rogatec and then transferred to NK Celje youth sides where he signed his first professional contract. For a short period of time he also played for NK MU Šentjur on loan. During his time in NK Celje he was named team captain at the age of 19 and was the youngest captain in history of the club.
In late August 2010 he signed a 4 year contract with Slovenian giants NK Maribor.
He has made 8 appearances for Slovenia U-19 where he scored 6 goals. He was instrumental in leading his side through qualifications for 2009 UEFA U-19 Championship where he scored 5 out of 6 Slovenia goals in the final phase of qualifications including a hattrick against Russia U-19. He also scored a goal against Netherlands U-19 and Belarus U-19. He was the best goalscorer in whole 2009 UEFA U-19 Championship during this phase of the qualifications campaign. On the final tournament Rep failed to score a goal and Slovenia finished the tournament with one point on last (8th) place.
Currently Rep is a member of Slovenia U-21 squad.