Leeds close in on triple swoop following fresh talks

By Coral Barry

Steve Evans has vowed to keep hold of young stars Lewis Cook, Charlie Taylor and Alex Mowatt after fresh contract negotiations.

The three in-demand academy graduates all have deals that expire in 2017 and are already attracting the attention of bigger clubs.

Speaking ahead of Leeds’ 4-0 thrashing at Brighton last night which left the manager fighting for his job, Evans seemed positive about the prospect of new deals for the trio.

He said: “I know the president (Massimo Cellino) and (executive director) Paul Bell have been speaking to representatives of those guys. That will go where it goes.”

Midfielder Lewis Cook reportedly attracted a bid from Premier League club Bournemouth during the January transfer window, while he has also been closely watched by a number of the elite top-flight clubs.

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The 19-year-old further added to his growing reputation with a superb 35-yard screamer in the 1-1 draw with Fulham last week.

Defender Taylor and winger Mowatt have also grabbed the attention of rival club after establishing themselves as mainstays in the starting eleven.

Bye-bye Byram: The right-back moved to West Ham for £3.7million in January

Leeds were forced to sell another academy graduate Sam Byram to West Ham in January rather than allow him to leave on a free in the summer and Evans is keen to avoid another similar situation with Cook, Mowatt and Taylor next year.

“There is no pressure from me, the club decide what is right and what is not right,” explained the manager. “But I think we won’t be going into next season with them only having one season left on their deals.”