By George Overhill

2nd Apr, 2023 | 9:10am

Leeds United are set to win the race to sign Hearts’ teenage forward James Wilson ahead of Manchester United and Celtic, the Daily Record reports.

The 16-year-old was also interesting the likes of Brentford and Fulham as English sides increasingly look within the UK for the next generation of talent following Brexit rule changes.

But it looks like the Whites have come out on top in their bid to further strengthen the Thorp Arch academy attacking talents.

The Gorgie Boys have “reluctantly” accepted that they will lose the talented youngster, who is said to have been given a guided tour round the Whites’ West Yorkshire facilities with his family.

A “financially-attractive offer” appears to be what has given Leeds United the drop on their rivals from Old Trafford and Scottish giants Celtic, while compensation will need to be paid to the Tynecastle-based club to the tune of around £120,000.

The news comes as Leeds remain close to landing teenage winger Ilias Akhomach from Barcelona, amid late hijack attempts from a group of Premier League rivals.

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With the race to find the next star getting ever more heated the biggest spenders are now snapping up the most obvious prospects directly to an increasing degree.

The odd Raphinha will slip through and still make their name at a club like Leeds that is fighting at the opposite end of the table before making the inevitable step up to the top.

But otherwise the Whites are leaving no stone unturned in terms of getting the likeliest attacking youngsters in as early as possible.

The likes of Mateo Joseph and Sonny Perkins have been scoring goals for fun in the under-21s side, and if Wilson and Akhomach are both to arrive as well the pressure from below for opportunities in the first team is sure to increase.

Willy Gnonto and Crysencio Summervillw are bonafide senior stars now, to the extent that last season’s great hope, Joe Gelhardt, has been elbowed out on loan to Sunderland, while the club broke their transfer record to sign yet another young attacker in Georginio Rutter in January.

If Wilson proves to be a Premier League calibre player then just over £100,000 is small change to a Premier League side – as long as the Whites remain one – in a situation that is bound to frustrate the Scottish club who simply cannot compete financially.

In other Leeds United news, an Elland Road ace could be sent to court with a banned Tottenham figure after a WhatsApp group chat was probed.

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