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Dijon and England U21 defender Panzo being tracked by Udinese and Sporting

17:00 GMT 11/12/2020
Jonathan Panzo England Under-21s
The former Chelsea defender is thriving in France and has been identified by several clubs interested in a move

England Under-21 defender Jonathan Panzo only joined Ligue 1 side Dijon in the summer but he is being closely watched by both Udinese and Sporting CP over a future transfer.

The 20-year-old will likely be in Aidy Boothroyd's starting XI for the U21 European Championships in March and is regarded as one of the country's most exciting defensive talents.

Panzo came through Chelsea's academy at Cobham but he was poached in 2018 by Monaco. He made just two appearances at the provincial club before going on loan to be a regular starter at their partner club Cercle Brugge last season.

Dijon signed Panzo for a reported €2 million (£1.8m/$2.4m) in the summer having been impressed with his performances in Belgium, but they are rooted to the bottom of the table in the French top flight.

Sporting are hoping to show the Primeira Liga is a good place to develop with Eric Dier having taken that path before returning to England with Tottenham. There are further examples of young British talent in Portugal with the likes of Marcus Edwards, Angel Gomes and Ryan Gauld thriving in the division.

Serie A side Udinese can offer a possible route back to English football for Panzo due to their connection to Watford through their owners.

Giampaolo Pozzo owns Udinese and his son Gino owns the recently relegated Watford. That connection has seen 52 deals between the two clubs in the last 10 years, including Gerard Deulofeu's recent move from Vicarage Road to Stadio Friuli.

Boothroyd continues to track Panzo and spoke about his development on Thursday after England's group with Portugal, Croatia and Switzerland was announced for the tournament in 2021.

"With Jonathan Panzo out in France with Dijon, his team is having a difficult time but he is playing and learning and growing every week," Boothroyd. "The same as Trevoh Chalobah who is at Lorient in the division playing every week so we have a lot of players out in Europe with Jude Bellingham at Dortmund.

"We want our young players playing which can only help us in the U21s and ultimately the seniors."

Panzo has made nine starts and one substitute appearance this season in France with his current deal running until June 2023.