By Pete O'Rourke

22nd Jan, 2020 | 6:36pm

Exclusive: Euro side open pre-contract talks with Fulham midfielder

Genk have opened talks with highly-rated Fulham midfielder Matt O’Riley over signing a pre-contract agreement this month, Football Insider understands.

The 19-year-old is out of contract at Craven Cottage this summer and is free to negotiate with foreign clubs about a possible move away from the Londoners.

A source in Belgium has told Football Insider that Genk are aiming to steal a march on rivals in the race for O’Riley’s signature by opening discussions with the talented 19-year-old.

It is understood a number of overseas clubs are monitoring the youngster’s situation at Fulham, the teenager emerging as one of the best young prospects to come through the Cottagers’ academy in recent years.

Genk are hoping to persuade the teenager to leave Fulham and move to Belgium by offering him a quicker pathway to first-team football, with opportunities limited under Scott Parker.

Having made his senior debut in the League Cup back in 2017, the England Under-18 international has gone on to make five first-team appearances for the club, his first Championship outing coming earlier this month against Reading.

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Fulham would be loathed to lose O’Riley during this month’s transfer window having seen fellow young starlet Harvey Elliott leave for Premier League giants Liverpool last summer.

Genk sit sixth in the Belgian top-flight table, 18 points behind league leaders Club Brugge, while they finished bottom of a group including Liverpool, Napoli and RB Leipzig.

In other Fulham news, it can be REVEALED that the club are lining up a Rangers first-teamer this month.