English Championship side Barnsley have reportedly joined the race to sign England-based Zimbabwean prodigy Tinashe Chakwana, putting pressure on League One side Sunderland, who had recently been linked with the young striker.
Chakwana (20) was released by Premier League side Burnley this English summer after spending another season in the Clarets' development squad and had previously attracted serious interest from Sunderland.
Some local and English news outlets had even reported that the Black Cats had already secured the services of the youngster, but it later emerged that he has only been on a trial stint at the club.
Now according to the latest reports from The Sun as cited by Sunderland Echo, Sunderland are facing a battle to sign the former Burnley striker with Barnsley in the hunt to sign him permanently.
The young Zimbabwean forward was once effusively praised by Burnley's academy manager Jon Pepper, who went on to compare the attacker's playing style to former England star Jermain Defoe.
"He's got a lot to offer. When he's on his game, playing up there and down the middle, he really causes problems. He plays off the shoulder, comes short, gets it into his feet, a little bit like Jermain Defoe. He can be a good finisher when he's on it," Pepper was quoted by the Burnley Express late last year.
After joining the club in 2015 Chakwana earned his first professional contract at Burnley two seasons ago after finishing as the Under-23s' top scorer in two out of the last three seasons, but the forward failed to live up to the hype surrounding his career and never made the breakthrough into the first team.
Now the young Zimbabwean striker will be looking for first-team action as he looks to rebuild his career and the likes of Barnsley and Sunderland could be the perfect platform to do that.
Should he opt for a move to the Stadium of Light, Chakwana would find himself third in the pecking order, behind the likes of Charlie Wyke and Will Grigg, both
of whom joined the club for big money last season, but would still receive plenty of game time.
Barnsley, on the other hand, already have the likes of Kieffer Moore, Mallik Wilks and Cauley Woodrow in their ranks and would pose a more challenging destination for the 20-year-old.
The young star is reportedly a target of Zimbabwe national Under-23 coach Tonderayi Ndiraya.