By Harry Sykes
Leeds United will need to fork out £4million to sign Ollie Watkins from Exeter City during the summer transfer window, according to a report.
The Sun on Sunday print edition (page 61) claim the League Two play-off finalists have slapped a huge price tag on the prolific forward by the standards of the fourth tier.
Leeds have been strongly linked to Watkins, 21, in recent weeks and their interest would surely have intensified following his play-offs heroics on Thursday night.
The attacker who has taken League Two by storm this season scored two of Exeter’s goals in their 3-2 win over Carlisle to secure a place in Sunday’s play-offs final at Wembley.
The Bristol Post claim Championship big hitters Leeds, Aston Villa and Norwich are all keeping close tabs on the youngster, who was named the EFL Young Player of the Year.
A £4million bid would represent a huge one for a player in the fourth tier of English football but also by Leeds’ standards of the last decade-and-a-half.
The Yorkshire giants have not spent that much money on a player since the signings of Robbie Fowler and Seth Johnson in the autumn of 2001.
Leeds’ biggest signings in the subsequent 16 years, which have been marked by severe financial constraints at the club, have been the £3million fees spent on Chris Wood in 2015 and Kemar Roofe last summer.
Watkins is expected to be at the centre of a flurry of transfer activity in the coming weeks as the possibility grows that he will leave Exeter this summer, irrespective of whether they achieve their promotion dream.
The versatile Exeter academy product, who can play out wide or as the spearhead of the attack, has scored 16 goals and supplied 13 assists from 51 matches in all competitions this season, with 15 of those goals coming in league and play-offs matches.
Leeds have been overly reliant in the recently completed Championship campaign for goals on Chris Wood, who topped the division scoring charts with 27 goals.
The club’s next top scorers were centre-back Kyle Bartley, playmaker Pablo Hernandez and wide forward Souleymane Doukara, who each netted six goals.