Leeds United are interested in a deal to bring Zak Sturge to Elland Road this summer.
That’s according to a report by Football Insider, who claim that Victor Orta is now preparing an offer for the Brighton & Hove Albion left-back – whose current contract at the American Express Community Stadium is set to expire on Thursday.
And, despite further reports suggesting that Chelsea have already won the race for the 18-year-old’s signature, Nizaar Kinsella recently revealed in a post on Twitter that, despite the Blues’ interest in the England U18 international, these claims are wide of the mark.
In his tweet, GOAL’s Chelsea correspondent said: “Chelsea have been interested in signing Brighton’s Zak Sturge since January. But reports he’s about to join are wide of the mark. Lots of interest from the top PL academies and also from German clubs.”
While it would appear as if Orta will have to fight off a great deal of competition if he is to seal a deal for Sturge this summer, considering just how exciting a prospect the full-back is, it would very much seem as if the teenager’s signature is well worth fighting for.
Indeed, while the defender is yet to make a senior appearance for the Seagulls, he has highly impressed in Brighton’s youth ranks over the last two years, providing five assists over 44 appearances for both the U18 and U23 sides.
Furthermore, Brighton’s former U18 manager, Mark Beard, clearly believes that the left-back has an exceptionally bright future in the game, with the 47-year-old stating in an interview with Sussex Live of his former player:
“You don’t get called up for your country if you are not a good player. When he was an U16 he trained with the U18s sometimes and you could see his great attributes; he was lightning quick, likes to get forward, taking people on – we just encouraged him to use his strengths.
“Technically he got a lot better and defensively improved a lot, too. In the first six months that he played for us, he was flying. He played every single game for us and then he got called up to the U23s under Simon Rusk.
“In those six months, I never saw anyone take him on. The first person that did and made him struggle a bit was Manchester City’s Carlton Palmer, which is something in itself.
“Then we had to think about something else as [Palmer] was the first one to take him on. So we carried on working with him and he has done brilliantly. One of his biggest strengths, along with his pace, is his attitude. He really wants to learn.”
As such, with left-back being a position in which Jesse Marsch is desperately lacking depth, it would appear an extremely wise move for Orta to do everything in his power to attempt to land the “very exciting” – in the words of Richie Mills – Sturge ahead of Chelsea this summer, as the England youth international undoubtedly boasts the potential become a starter on the left of Whites’ back four in not too distant future.