By George Overhill

21st May, 2023 | 9:10am

Leeds United transfer news: Real Madrid target Mateo Joseph ahead of under-20 World Cup, under close watch

Mateo Joseph is going to be watched through the under-20 World Cup by Real Madrid as the European giants have identified the Leeds United youngster as potentially “key” to their future, according to Fijaches.

After Mundo Deportivo reported on 18 May that Barcelona scouts were due to cast an eye over the teenage forward, it now appears that he is in the sights of both La Liga giants after an outstanding season with the Whites under-21s.

The Spanish-born England striker has broken into the Leeds United first team with five brief substitute appearances in the Premier League and FA Cup, plus the full 90 minutes in the Carabao Cup defeat to Wolves on 9 November.

Otherwise he has been scoring goals for fun in the reserve side, netting 15 in 18 appearances in Premier League 2, before adding a goal and an assist in the play-off semi-final and final respectively.

According to Fijaches: “Now, with the Under-20 World Cup in Argentina about to start, Real Madrid has its eyes set on five footballers who could become key players in the future of the club. These players will be closely watched by Madrid scouts, as well as by other European clubs interested in their potential.

“Mateo Joseph, who currently plays for Leeds United, is also in Real Madrid’s plans. Despite his young age, the English midfielder has generated interest since his time at Espanyol and is now on the Merengue club’s radar.”

No surprise

The 19-year-old has already proven himself to be a very exciting young talent and that sort of player inevitably attracts interest from all over when clubs are constantly looking to find the next big thing before their rivals.

It goes without saying that the Elland Road hierarchy would want his development to continue at Leeds United for some time yet, having had the foresight to bring him to the club from Spain in January last season.

Alongside Sonny Perkins’ arrival from West Ham the teenager has helped form an exciting crop of attacking youngsters even as the first-team have been faltering, and if Sam Allardyce is unable to keep the club in the Premier League it would be no surprise to see such talents get greater exposure in the senior side next year.

But if clubs the size of the Real and Barca are already sniffing around it is equally possible that the Championship, for all it would offer more of an opportunity, might not match the glamour of the Bernabeu or Camp Nou.

Losing first-team stars like Raphinha for big money is part of the business model for a club in the Whites’ position, but it wouldn’t be quite the same to miss out on the real benefit of a star in the making like Joseph before he’s had a real chance.

How he fares at the Indonesia-based international tournament could be the difference between concrete proposals and vague future interest, so a quiet time may be of more benefit to the Whites.

In other Leeds United news, Sam Allardyce has made an admission about his players’ fitness and given them two days off ahead of the crucial clash with West Ham.