By Pranav Shahaney

18th Sep, 2022 | 8:23am

Manchester City are reportedly leading Leeds United, Chelsea and Liverpool in the race to sign Linfield teenage sensation Cole Brannigan.

According to the Sun journalist Alan Nixon, Northern Ireland Under-16s midfielder is now certain to leave the club amid interest from Premier League clubs.

The Citizens are hoping that their academy, which has churned out multi-million players recently, attracts the teenager over the other clubs vying for his services.

Nixon wrote, “Manchester City are trying to win the race for Northern Ireland midfield prospect Cole Brannigan.

“City have had the Linfield teenager in on trial as they close on a deal ahead of three major Premier League rivals.

“Chelsea have been trying for Brannigan who has also got Leeds and Liverpool on his tail.

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“The under-16 cap seems certain to move shortly and City hope their prestigious academy system attracts him most.”

Losing out

It may be hard for Leeds to compete with City’s world class infrastructure even though Brannigan is likely to take longer to break into the first team there.

Thorp Arch is undoubtedly an excellent facility for youngsters to thrive and become stars for the future, but in comparison to City’s big-money system, it’s not up there.

The Manchester outfit have produced talent after talent over the last few years as they have improved every aspect of the club administration under their Middle Eastern owners.

Even Darko Gyabi, a player signed by Leeds over the summer, fetched them a mouth-watering seven-figure sum – something that would’ve seemed baffling even five years ago.

That being said, as long as the Northern Irishman has not signed the dotted lines at City, Leeds have every chance to secure his services and must look to discuss terms with him even though it may seem like they’re losing the battle.

In other Leeds United news, the Whites have reached an agreement to sign a left-back, according to his agent.