Fulham's capture of Portuguese left-back Rafa Soares on loan this week could be construed as a sign that the Championship club is willing to listen to offer for teenage star Ryan Sessegnon.
Soares, a player Fulham proudly boast they beat 'two major European clubs' to sign, arrived at Craven Cottage the day after it was reported that Manchester United have 'significant interest' in Sessegnon and would make a move if the 'not for sale' at Craven Cottage stance softens.
Up to now, Tottenham have failed in their attempts to sign the 17-year-old starlet, who was just 16 when he first started playing at first-team level at the beginning of last season.
Fulham have maintained that Sessegnon is not for sale, with rumours that even a sizeable offer of £25m might not be considered enough. But if there is any change to that, it is understood that United would be keen to make an approach.
The fact that Fulham have brought in a player who could almost be seen as a 'replacement' for Sessegnon should the Cottagers be tempted into selling, is certainly interesting.
Should 100% be accepting £25m for Sessegnon. That's enough money to get us up.— harryfre (@HarryFremantle) August 15, 2017
Relatively young himself at 22 years of age, Rafa Soares arrives from Porto and has been playing on loan in the Portuguese Primeira Liga for the past year and a half with Academica and Rio Ave.
Given the fanfare from Fulham it does not appear that he is the type of signing to simply sit as a back-up. Porto almost certainly would not have sanctioned the loan if Sessegnon was to remain the undisputed first choice, nor would Soares likely have agreed to it.
At this stage, it is also worth noting that United manager Jose Mourinho is more than likely to have been aware of Sessegnon long before his recent rise to first-team prominence.
Mourinho's son, Jose Jr., was a goalkeeper in Fulham's youth ranks until his contract was cancelled by mutual consent as a result of injury four months ago. At 17, Jose Jr. is the same age as Sessegnon and had been with the club since the age of 14 shortly after the Mourinho family returned to London from Madrid.
Through supporting his own son's football journey, Mourinho Sr. surely encountered Sessegnon at one time or another and perhaps is already personally familiar to the coveted youngster.
Mourinho's words last week were that United are not in the market for any established signings 'unless something happens', but the club will always looks to snap up the best young talent if and when it becomes available. For Sessegnon, watch this space.