The English FA are still making efforts to snatch Arsenal starlet Alex Iwobi from Nigeria, the Mirror claims.
The impressive Iwobi, who only recently became an Arsenal regular, has already played for the Super Eagles, but the matches were friendlies and he can still switch to England if he wants to.
The 19-year-old has started three of Arsenal’s last four games and capped his full Premier League debut at Everton on Saturday with a man-of-the-match display and his first Gunners goal.
Iwobi played for the England’s Under-16, U17 and U18 sides before the nephew of Austin Jaj Jay Okocha chose to represent his parents' country Nigeria.
The forward was first invited to play for Nigeria U-23s by Samson Siasia, who is now senior interim coach, but the paperwork for the switch from England to Nigeria was not completed before the match.
However, Iwobi is expected to make his competitive debut for Nigeria on Friday after being named in the squad for their Africa Cup of Nations qualifying double header against Egypt.
If Iwobi plays the match, or the return leg in Alexandria on Tuesday, he would be permanently tied down by Nigeria.
The Mirror says this has prompted desperate late attempts from the FA to try to get Iwobi to change his mind.
There is no suggestion Iwobi will be fast-tracked into the senior England set-up and handed a premature call-up.
FA chiefs do see him as a potential future Three Lions international and know their hopes of landing him will be dashed if he plays in Nigeria’s upcoming games.
Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger has backed up the FA’s views on Iwobi by giving the youngster a glowing reference.
He is understood to have told the FA the player has a big future at the North Londoners and, having let him get away once, they should do everything possible to try to get him back.Watch The Premier League Live!! with EXPRESSVPN the #1 Trusted Name in VPN