By Tony Hughes
Tottenham are keen on signing Crystal Palace youngster Francis Baptiste, according to a report.
London News Online, which includes reliable publication South London Press, claim Spurs are interested in landing the 16-year-old attacker.
It is said that Baptiste has been offered a scholarship deal by Palace but it is unclear whether he has put pen to paper.
The teenager is the second Palace forward who has attracted strong interest from Tottenham in recent weeks.
Spurs made a late August swoop for Wilfried Zaha but Palace dismissed a £12million offer for the winger shortly before the transfer window shut.
Like Zaha, Baptiste has also made waves in the Palace youth set-up.
The 16-year-old has been with the Eagles since the age of 12, and was given his Under-18s debut by boss Ken Gillard in January, notching his first goal in a 4-3 away defeat by Brentford later that month.
Amid the interest from Spurs, Baptiste is yet to feature for Palace this season, and was not even named on the bench for the opening day victory over Sheffield Wednesday.
He was awarded the golden boot following his goalscoring exploits in the IFA Shield – a tournament for which Palace sent an Under-19s side to India during February – finishing top scorer as his side were knocked out on penalties in the semi-finals.
Palace will hope that the striker rejects any overtures from Tottenham, and follows in the footsteps of midfielder Kian Flanagan, who snubbed interest from Manchester United, Arsenal, Chelsea and West Ham to agree a professional contract with the Eagles.
Zaha was the star of the show for the senior Palace side on Saturday as they beat Middlesbrough 2-1 at the Riverside, assisting Christian Benteke’s opener and then scoring the winner in the second half.
Asked afterwards how close the England international came to joining Tottenham last month, Pardew told Match of the Day: “I don’t think it was as close as people think because there wasn’t, like, £50million on the table. Maybe there will be one day and then it will be more difficult for us.”
Spurs offered to double Zaha’s wages to £70,000-a-week in an attempt to reach an agreement with the player, who is said to be keen on an improved deal at Palace.
The two-time England international impressed for Pardew’s side last season, scoring five goals and producing seven assists in 43 league and cup encounters.
In other Tottenham transfer news, this attacker has signed after completing talks with Spurs.