Villas-Boas set to muscle out rivals to secure wonderkid

Chelsea are set to rival Arsenal and Fulham for the signature of Brighton star Lewis Dunk, the Metro understands, after the 19-year-old defender has established himself in Gus Poyet’s side.

Dunk, a product of the Seagulls’ academy, has impressed for Poyet’s side after the Uruguayan was forced into playing the teenager due a host of injuries to key defenders, including Adam El- Abd and Tommy Elphick.

A string of eye-catching performances alongside captain Gordan Greer in the heart of defence have seen his stock rise considerably after Brighton’s strong start to the season.

With a reputation as a tough, no-nonsense defender Dunk has proved to be unfazed by the physicality of the Championship and has attracted admiring glances from the Premier League.

Arsenal and Fulham have already sent scouts to the Amex Stadium to watch the defender in action during last week’s Carling Cup defeat to Liverpool. Chelsea, who have followed Dunk’s progress through the ranks, had representatives watching him in Friday’s draw against Leeds.

Despite his emergence as a first team regular on the South Coast and Poyet’s eagerness to build a team capable of a promotion push it’s thought a bid of £5 million would be enough to see him leave the club, with further scouting trips expected from all the interested parties.

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