Jose Luis “Kuki” Zalazar is a 16-year-old forward at La Liga side Malaga. Despite his tender age, and having not yet made a single appearance for Malaga’s senior team, Kuki Zalazar is drawing admiring glances from a host of Premier League sides, most notably Liverpool.
Here’s what you need to know about Spain’s latest wonderkid:
1. He’s Only 16, but He’s got the Biggest Clubs in the World Chasing Him
Newspapers are awash with rumors that Kuki Zalazar is a target for Liverpool, with others mentioning Chelsea and Manchester City as potential suitors. Despite not having played a single minute for Malaga’s senior team, the Premier League’s biggest clubs have been impressed by his appearances in both Spain’s and Malaga’s youth sides.
2. His Contract With Malaga has a $7 million Release Clause
Kuki signed his first professional contract with Malaga less than 12 months ago, and it’s reported that he has a buy-out clause of $7 million. That won’t prove to be much of a stumbling block for the likes of Liverpool.
Meanwhile, it looks like Nike already have him sewn up:
3. He was Born in Uruguay, but Plays for Spain
Born in Montevideo, Uruguay, Kuki moved to Spain before his first birthday, and has already worn the red and gold at under-15, under-16 and under-17 levels.
Age-group appearances, however, do not preclude Kuki from playing for one country or the other, and it’s rumored the Spanish senior side will call up the left-footed forward as early as next season to tie him down to Spain.
4. His Father was a Professional Soccer Player
Kuki’s father, José Luis Zalazar Sr., played professionally in Spain and Uruguay in the 1980s and 90s. Also a forward, Zalazar sr. was renowned for his powerful shot, scoring 72 goals in 218 appearances for Spanish Segunda Division side Albacete. He won 29 caps for Uruguay, playing in the 1986 World Cup.
Zalazar Sr. currently acts as Kuki’s agent.
5. He won the UEFA Under-16 Development Tournament with Spain
Expect to see him at the 2015 Under-17 European Championships in Bulgaria.