Leeds United now look set to lose a bright young star at Elland Road despite their positive start in the Championship, according to The Athletic journalist Phil Hay.
Leeds United’s youth development
Over the test of time, Leeds United have a proud history of bringing young players through their academy system before giving them a chance to shine at Elland Road. In Daniel Farke’s current squad, Sam Byram and Jamie Shackleton both started their careers at the Yorkshire outfit, while midfielder Archie Gray is regarded by many as one of the most promising players to ever come through at Thorp Arch, and his performances this term have caught the eye of the footballing elite.
According to The Daily Mail, the 17-year-old is being lined up by English top-flight giants Liverpool next summer in a swoop that could cost Jurgen Klopp more than £40 million to pull off. The report states that Gray, who has earned comparisons to Trent Alexander-Arnold due to his athletic ability and capacity to feature either as a central midfielder or full-back, is also being tracked by Everton and Crystal Palace as he continues to develop at Elland Road.
Born in 2006, Gray has taken to first-team life like a duck to water this term, making 17 appearances in all competitions for Leeds United (Gray statistics – Transfermarkt). Of course, Leeds fans all know what the feeling of losing one of their brightest homegrown stars is like, with the memory of Kalvin Phillips leaving for Manchester City in 2022 for a fee in the region of £45 million still fresh in the memory.
Now, history may be about to repeat itself for the Elland Road faithful, albeit on a much smaller scale, courtesy of a report from journalist Hay.
Manchester City agree Finley Gorman deal
Taking to social media platform X, journalist Hay has revealed that Manchester City have agreed a deal to sign Leeds United youngster Finley Gorman for a seven-figure sum, which is believed to be a British club record for a 15-year-old.
Finley Gorman statistics 2023/24 – Under-18 Premier League (Transfermarkt)
Hay stated in full: “Manchester City have agreed a deal to sign highly-rated academy midfielder Finley Gorman from Leeds United. Seven-figure fee believed to be a British record for a 15-year-old.”
As per reports from the Yorkshire Evening Post, several clubs, including the likes of Newcastle United, were interested in Gorman; nevertheless, he now looks set to move to the Etihad Stadium, which is home to some of the finest academy facilities in world football.
Sources have indicated to the outlet that he is one of the most exciting prodigies to come through the youth system at Leeds United in recent years. At the same time, his versatility is also an asset, given his ability to operate off the right flank or as an attacking midfielder.
Lower tier clubs are finding it increasingly more difficult to hold on to their most exciting youngsters due to the lure of elite academies and the opportunities they can present.