Leeds challenge Premier League rival for Scottish starlet after scouts are ‘blown away’ during game
Leeds United are reportedly in a transfer race with Fulham for young Aberdeen striker Lewis Pirie, following his exceptional display for Scotland U16s recently.
The Whites improved their striker options in the summer by landing Wilfried Gnonto from FC Zurich. They were initially in pursuit of Bamba Dieng and even agreed a deal to sign him.
But in a shock turn of events, the 22-year-old rejected their advances and prioritised a move to Nice at the last minute.
Dieng failed a medical though and is now back at Marseille, after pushing so hard for an exit from the French club.
Despite the failure to capture Dieng, Jesse Marsch appears happy with his forward options. He can use Patrick Bamford, Joe Gelhardt, Gnonto and Sam Greenwood.
Those players are all under the age of 21, other than Bamford. The attack is lacking experience following Rodrigo’s shoulder dislocation against Everton.
Nevertheless, Leeds should have enough talent up front to help them improve on last season’s 17th-placed finish.
Club chiefs are now looking towards the future of the first team. And Pirie is one player they have set their sights on.
Leeds keeping tabs on Lewis Pirie development
According to online outlet Football Insider, Leeds are ‘closely monitoring’ the Scot, who is 15 years old and remains part of Aberdeen’s youth setup.
They are not alone in admiring him though, as fellow Premier League side Fulham would also like to bring the teenage ace south of the border.
Scouts from both teams were in attendance as Pirie put on a show for Scotland U16s against Denmark U16s on Wednesday night.
He got on the scoresheet and won a penalty for his team, leaving representatives from Leeds and Fulham ‘blown away’.
The scouts are likely to send glowing reports back to their respective clubs, which will surely set up a transfer tussle.
Aberdeen know Pirie is one of the ‘rising stars’ of Scottish football and are reportedly bracing themselves for interest.
Pirie cannot sign a professional contract with Aberdeen until he turns 16 in January. Should the forward end up leaving for Leeds or Fulham, then Aberdeen will be due compensation.
Aberdeen have shown they are able to produce impressive young talent in recent years. The best example is Calvin Ramsay, who won 39 appearances in their senior team before joining Liverpool on July 1. According to The Athletic, he cost Jurgen Klopp’s side £8million.
Pirie could follow in his footsteps and move to a Prem club if Leeds or Fulham act on their interest in him.
Dispute over Pirie position
There is a bit of debate about Pirie’s best position. transfermarkt label him simply as a ‘midfielder’. The Daily Record, in contrast, call him an ‘attacker’.
Perhaps he has the ability to play in both positions and is still figuring out where he is most effective. By the sounds of it, he will be best further forward, maybe in the centre of attack.
Football Insider note that Pirie could choose Leeds over Fulham due to the different policies between the two clubs.
Leeds have shown they are willing to trust young players in recent seasons – just look at Gelhardt, Illan Meslier and Cody Drameh.
Fulham, in contrast, prefer to spend money on more established players. The report names goalkeeper Marek Rodak as the only Fulham academy graduate playing a part in the senior squad.
Lewis Pirie will want to have a true pathway to the first team and this could see him join Leeds over Fulham.
Meanwhile, Leeds must overcome two of Europe’s biggest clubs if they’re to sign Noah Okafor, as per a report.