By Richard Parks
Stevenage centre-back Ben Wilmot is most likely to be the next Leeds United signing, according to a report.
Football Whispers claim that the defender is ahead of any other player after establishing himself in the first team for the League Two outfit with a series of outstanding displays.
It comes after the Independent claim there is a stampede of interest in the Englishman, 18, just six months and 15 matches into his professional career.
It is said that Leeds were “very keen to sign” Wilmot in the January window, as were Liverpool, Derby County and Brighton, while Watford tabled a £500,000 bid and there was also an offer from Tottenham.
Football Whispers, which gathers all transfer rumours across the globe and calculates the likelihood of them happening, rates it 2.6 out of 5 that Wilmot will join Leeds, with five the highest possible ranking and meaning it is a certainty.
He is ahead in the rankings of Brighton forward Tomer Hemed (2.5) and Middlesbrough central midfielder Adam Clayton (1.8).
Football Insider verdict:
Wilmot is clearly a young player of immense potential. His rise is even more astonishing when taken into account the fact that he has only been playing at centre-back for just over a year, having being moved back there from midfield halfway through last season, the first year of his scholarship. His call-up to England Under-19s, coupled with the Premier League scouts beating a path to Stevenage, suggests that Leeds have their work cut out to win the race for his signature. Much will depend on who is willing to meet the fourth-tier club’s asking price, as well as the pathways laid down by the interested clubs in developing a teenager clearly destined for the top.
In other Leeds United transfer news, the club have agreed the terms of an £8.5million deal, with the first payment scheduled for the summer.