Leeds given fresh boost in pursuit of key striker target - report

By Alex Stevens

Leeds have been given hope in their pursuit of Manchester United striker Ashley Fletcher even though he is headed to West Ham, according to a report.

The Championship club have been monitoring Fletcher throughout the summer and were encouraged by his decision to turn down a new deal at Old Trafford last week but the Londoners have killed competition for his signature by offering the 20-year-old a four-year contract.

The Yorkshire Evening Post claim the young forward is set to undergo a medical at West Ham on Friday ahead of completing a move to the club.

However, the Daily Mail report that the Hammers may yet agree to loan Fletcher out to allow him to continue his development with regular first-team football.

This would be a boost to Leeds as owner Massimo Cellino had been reported to be interested in either wrapping up a permanent or loan deal for the promising striker.

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United offered Fletcher a new contract to stay at the club, but the 20-year-old believes his first-team chances under Jose Mourinho would be limited.

However, the striker has opted to remain in the Premier League and is convinced he can get more opportunities either now or in the future at West Ham.

Fletcher spent the second half of the 2015-16 season on loan with Barnsley where his goal in the League One play-off final helped secure the club’s promotion into the Championship.

United will be bitterly disappointed to lose the prospect who is highly rated by the club’s youth coaches and has shone consistently for the club’s Under-21s.

Leeds were hoping to add the powerful forward to their ranks as they look to mount their own play-off push and significantly improve on their 13th-placed finish in the Championship last season.

In other Leeds news, a Whites defender is on the verge of quitting Elland Road for a return to Italy.