Report: Leeds step up Premier League striker chase, want deal secured within weeks
By Alex Stevens
Leeds want to prise Ashley Fletcher from Manchester United when his contract expires at the end of this month, according to a report.
The Championship big hittters are one of several clubs eyeing the 20-year-old striker after a recent loan spell at Barnsley brought Fletcher to the end of his current United deal.
The Yorkshire Evening Post claim Leeds owner Massimo Cellino is keen to sign Fletcher for new manager Garry Monk after watching him star in Barnsley’s League One play-off triumph last week.
It is said Fletcher has been offered an extension to his United contract but is yet to accept it after impressing in his first stint of senior football at Oakwell.
Fletcher spent the second half of the season with the League One side and scored an impressive nine goals in 31 appearances in all competition, as well as adding five assists.
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The forward is reportedly keen to continue his development by playing regular first-team football.
He signed professional forms at Old Trafford in 2014 but has yet to appear in a competitive game for his parent club.
Leeds are in the market for strikers after averaging just over a goal a game during the recent Championship season. Mirco Antenucci, who finished the term as second highest goalscorer with nine to his name, was released by the club last month.
Cellino is thought to be open to a loan move or a permanent deal for Fletcher, but wants him at Elland Road next season either way after witnessing him score a second minute opener in the play-off final.
Teen sensation Marcus Rashford, Wayne Rooney and Anthony Martial are all vying for the front spot at Old Trafford and megastar Zlatan Ibrahimovic is close to joining them.
Signing a goalscorer from United would represent a huge coup for Leeds, especially as their strikers struggled to score goals in the recently completed domestic campaign.