By Alex Stevens
West Ham have joined the race to sign Leeds academy product Charlie Taylor, according to a report.
The Chronicle claim the Hammers, West Brom and Middlesbrough are “among the Premier League sides to have watched the 23-year-old this season”.
It is said that Newcastle are also among the suitors, with Taylor being a player they have scouted regularly over the past 18 months.
Taylor has emerged as one of the most promising full-backs in England since emerging from the Leeds youth ranks.
West Ham’s apparent interest comes after they prised Taylor’s fellow academy product Sam Bryam from Elland Road during the January transfer window.
Asked about Taylor last month, Monk said, as quoted by the personal Twitter account of Yorkshire Evening Post correspondent Lee Sobot: “Charlie is a very important player for us and he will be very important for us going forward.”
— Lee Sobot (@LeeSobotYEP) October 27, 2016
Taylor has already rejected a new contract offer from Leeds as he looks to progress his career beyond the Championship, and will be available on a free transfer at the end of the season.
The left-back is a mainstay of the Leeds team and has played the full 90 minutes of all 16 of their Championship matches this season. He has also started two of the club’s four games in the League Cup.
Since breaking into the Leeds team, Taylor has made 90 senior appearances in all competitions, scoring three goals and supplying 10 assists.
He also had a fruitful spell on loan at Fleetwood, where he played 42 matches, as well as shorter loan periods at Inverness, York and Bradford.
West Ham have two senior left-backs in Aaron Cresswell, who was called up to the England squad during the international break, and summer signing Arthur Masuaku.
Byram, who is predominantly a right-back, has struggled to make an impact since moving to Upton Park for around £3.5million. He has made 13 senior appearances for the first team, with just nine of those being starts.
In other Leeds transfer news, an Italy report details the latest Massimo Cellino plan.