Bristol City have had a bid for highly-rated midfielder Alex Gilbey rejected, HITC Sport understands from sources close to the club.
Bristol City are scouring the transfer market as they look to bolster their squad during this month's transfer window.
The Championship strugglers have identified Gilbey as one of their top targets having watched him on several occasions this season.
Gilbey has caught the eye for Colchester in League One so far this season and he scored twice in 28 games for the U's.
The 21-year-old, who has come through the ranks at Colchester, is highly-regarded at the club with U's boss Kevin Keen tipping him as a future Premier League player.
Despite his tender years Gilbey has made over 100 appearances for Colchester and has captained the club.
Gilbey is in the final six months of his contract at Colchester and the club have been unable to tie him down to a new deal.
Bristol City have made the first move to try and land Gilbey by tabling an offer for the midfielder, but Colchester have rejected their opening offer.
However, HITC Sport understands that Bristol City are expected to come back with an improved offer for Gilbey as they look to bring the midfielder to Ashton Gate before the close of the window.