By Alex Stevens
West Brom have joined the race to sign Leeds midfielder Ronaldo Vieira, according to a report.
The Mirror’s transfer news blog (Friday, 10.25pm) claims that Baggies manager Tony Pulis is keeping close tabs on the Elland Road academy sensation.
It is said that West Brom are ready to rival Bundesliga big hitters RB Leipzig for the signing of the 18-year-old, who is regarded as one of the best young players in England.
The Premier League club’s reported interest in Vieira comes after the Mirror reported that they are also planning a £5million January bid for his teammate Charlie Taylor.
Both players have graduated from the Leeds academy and have caught the eye of top flight clubs with their consistent performances for Garry Monk’s promotion challengers.
It is reported that Leipzig, who are second in the Bundesliga table to Bayern Munich only on goal difference, are scouring the globe for the best young football talent and have been impressed by the performances of central midfielder Vieira.
The 18-year-old has established himself in the Leeds team this season after gaining the trust of manager Monk, who has put his faith in youth after taking over in the summer.
Vieira has made 19 appearances in all competitions, 15 of which he has started, and has been a key figure in the team’s climb to fifth in the Championship.
Such has been the rise to prominence of Vieira and fellow academy product Kalvin Phillips that the absence of skipper Liam Bridcutt for three months was considerably mitigated and the Leeds careers of senior men Toumani Diagouraga and Luke Murphy have been virtually ended.
Football Insider verdict:
Leeds have produced some impressive young players in recent seasons, with Lewis Cook and Sam Byram both making the journey from the Elland Road academy to the Premier League. Taylor could follow that duo in the coming months, either in January or next summer. But Vieira could be set for the big time at an even earlier age, assuming Leeds do not extend their promotion surge by rising straight into the Premier League. The teenager does not turn 19 until next July and is already a key member of a team who are fifth in the Championship and are emerging as credible promotion challengers. Vieira is destined for the big time. The question is, will he head there with Leeds?
In other Leeds news, the club are closing in on a £3.6million January signing.