By Harry Sykes and Pete O’Rourke
Leeds United and Newcastle United have lost out in their bids to sign defender Josh Earl after he agreed a new deal at Preston North End Football Insider sources understand.
The two Uniteds joined Liverpool in making concerted approaches to sign Earl, but Preston have moved to secure the defender’s future.
A well-placed source has told Football Insider that full-back Earl, 18, has agreed the terms of a three-year contract with the Championship outfit and will imminently put pen to paper.
Scouts from Liverpool, Newcastle, Brighton, Bournemouth and Leeds have all been tracking Earl as they look to lure the player away from Preston.
However, the second-tier club were desperate to keep hold of Earl and have moved to fend off the growing interest in the player by tying him down to fresh terms.
Earl is highly-regarded at Preston having progressed through the ranks at Deepdale.
The full-back has broken into the first-team this season under Alex Neil and made his debut in the 1-0 win over Reading last month.
Earl was handed his chance in the starting XI after an injury to Gregg Cunningham and the teenager has started Preston’s last four games and the side are unbeaten in those four games.
Football Insider verdict:
Leeds and Newcastle are both in need of new long-term full-back options and it will be a blow to both clubs to have missed out on the Preston rising star. The north-west club do not have the resources of Newcastle, certainly, and while Leeds are far from big spenders in the Championship, they have a kudos that Preston do not. Nevertheless, Earl has decided that his development would be best served by more game time at a club where he can expect far more game time. Should he continue to progress as many good judges expect, the big boys will come calling once again.
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