Leeds United have been dealt a blow in their bid to bring James McAtee to Elland Road this summer.
That’s according to a report by the Daily Mail, who claim that, despite the interest of Premier League trio Leeds, AFC Bournemouth and Nottingham Forest, it is Sheffield United who currently lead the race for the Manchester City midfielder’s signature on a season-long loan.
The report goes on to state that the Championship side are now in talks with both Pep Guardiola’s side and the 19-year-old regarding the terms of his temporary switch to Bramall Lane, with the Blades hoping that the England U20 international will have a similar impact to that of Wolverhampton Wanderers’ midfielder Morgan Gibbs-White – who spent last season on loan at United.
While it is true that Victor Orta has already confirmed the signings of central midfielders Brenden Aaronson, Tyler Adams, Marc Roca and Darko Gyabi this summer, considering just how exciting a prospect McAtee undoubtedly is, in addition to the fact that the 19-year-old is incredibly versatile positionally, it would appear an extremely wise move for the Spaniard to launch a late move for the teenager.
Indeed, the £2.7m-rated talent is one of the brightest starlets currently in City’s academy setup, having scored 14 goals and provided eight assists over 33 fixtures for the U18s, bagged three goals over two outings for the U19s and notched 27 goals and 19 assists over 52 appearances for the U23s – averaging a goal involvement every 90 minutes for the club’s youth sides.
Furthermore, while the vast majority of the £3.1k-per-week midfielder’s appearances have come from attacking midfield, the youngster has also been deployed 31 times in central midfield, eight times as a centre-forward, three times at left midfield, once at right midfield and once on the left wing – proving that he would provide Jesse Marsch with cover in a number of different positions next season.
As such, while it would appear as if Sheffield United are currently in the driving seat for the player who Jordan Elgott dubbed “stunning“, considering just how exciting a prospect McAtee is, it would appear highly advisable for Orta to do everything in his power to land the 19-year-old ahead of the Blades this summer, as the teenager would certainly make a stunning addition to Marsch’s options at Elland Road ahead of the upcoming Premier League campaign.