Leeds United believe they have a “good chance” of completing a deal for highly-rated Northern Irish teenager Charlie Allen, according to the Yorkshire Evening Post.
It is understood that the 16-year-old is attracting attention from a number of top sides, with Tottenham Hotspur, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City, and Rangers all vying for his signature.
But the Whites are said to be confident that they have stolen a march on their rivals in the race to secure his services.
The youngster, who can play in midfield or up front, currently plies his trade for Linfield in Belfast, with former Elland Road hero David Healy as his manager.
Allen made his senior bow at the age of just 15 years, five months and five days, and was also included in Healy’s squad for the Champions League qualifier against Rosenborg earlier in the season.
The report does state, however, that the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic is likely to prevent any deal from happening in the immediate future, with Leeds set to wait for a return to normality before turning their attentions to transfer activity.
So what are our chances of actually wrapping up a deal for the prodigious talent?
Ordinarily, with a host of Premier League heavyweights in the running, you might expect the Whites to be at something of a disadvantage, but recent comments from Linfield’s academy director, Glenn Ferguson, are cause for optimism.
Speaking to the Belfast Telegraph, he said: “With all due respect, Manchester City can go and get 20 Charlie Allens from across the world.
“He’s maybe better off going to a club like Ipswich or Leeds where someone like Stuart Dallas can take him under his wing.
“If he joins a lower, Championship club like Stuart Dallas and Gavin Whyte did, he can progress from there. They need to be playing football when they do go there.”
We might be a little biased, but it’s hard to disagree with Ferguson.
The path to first team football would be a lot clearer for a player like Allen at Elland Road than it would be with a club like City or Liverpool.
Marcelo Bielsa has proven before that he is willing to give youth a chance, as we saw during Jack Clarke’s breakout campaign last term.
The winger made 25 appearances across all competitions in 2018/19, and was just a couple of years older than Allen is now.
Hopefully, that kind of clear exhibition of the opportunities a move to Leeds could afford him, coupled with Healy’s own positive experiences with the club, could swing things in our favour.
In other Leeds United news, MOT View: EFL must rule out ‘ludicrous’ idea proposed to help restart Championship season.