By Editor Wayne Veysey

The starting pistol has been sounded and the race is on.

Football Insider exclusively revealed on Sunday morning that the London giants were preparing to make a formal offer for Atalanta midfield enforcer Franck Kessie.

Less than 24 hours later, Italian transfer site Calcio Mercato reported that Spurs have tabled a bid of nearly £20million for the 19-year-old.

Tottenham are keen to win the race for the exciting teenager, whose performances in Serie A have had scouts from across the globe beating a path to Atalanta to see him in action.

Arsenal, Liverpool and Chelsea have all been credited with an interest in Kessie, in addition to Italian powerhouses Juventus.

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So what makes the Ivorian powerhouse so special? He is more than your standard midfield anchorman for a start. In addition to his energy, athleticism and growing game awareness, he is also a huge asset in the opposition box and has a goals record that would make many forwards drool.

The teenager, who does not turn 20 until next week, has been a mainstay for Atalanta this season, scoring an impressive six goals and supplying two assists from 15 appearances in all competitions.

That is some record, and it is precisely why the emerging star needs to be snapped up before his transfer value rockets and he is out of reach of all bar the super elite.

As revealed by Football Insider, outgoing Tottenham transfer guru Paul Mitchell has recommended the club keep a close eye on Kessie.

It could be his final gift to the north Londoners as he works his notice at White Hart Lane after deciding that it was not too much fun having his recommendations ignored by Spurs’ uncompromising chairman Daniel Levy.

Spurs must now move quickly to follow up their opening offer for Kessie with a concerted charm offensive that will see off the interest of their rivals.

They must make it clear that White Hart Lane is the ideal venue for him to pursue what promises to be an very good career, and potentially a great one.

The competition is likely to be less intense in January than it will be next summer when the elite European clubs will have the funds to blow the north Londoners out of the water.

The Ivory Coast powerhouse, who was an international at the age of 17 and has already accumulated 10 senior caps, has a growing reputation as a result of his performances in Italy in the last two years.

He is good and is going to get better. Tottenham should not hang around.

In other Tottenham transfer news, the club have opened defender talks ahead of the January transfer window.