Skysports.com understands Kane Ferdinand has put a cluster of Championship sides on high alert after he turned down a contract offer from Southend.
The 18-year-old cousin of Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand has managed to establish himself in the Shrimpers first team with some mature displays at the heart of their midfield.
In recent weeks Roots Hall has been busy with scouts eager to see the teenager, who is still on a scholarship contract.
Crystal Palace and Nottingham Forest are reportedly among the front-runners to snare the midfielder should he opt to further his footballing education at a higher level.
Indeed, the interest of these clubs has prompted the League Two outfit to put a professional deal to the Under-19 Republic of Ireland international.
Under the terms of his scholarship contract, if Ferdinand fails to sign a professional contract by mid-March he will be able to walk away for free.
Ferdinand's agent Matthew Southall said: "Kane has done very well over the last few weeks. He has shown his versatility and maturity and settled into the team well.
"There have been one or two enquiries which I expected but, at the moment, he is a Southend United player and is happy to be playing regularly and hopefully we can sort his contract out over the coming weeks."