Middlesbrough ready to tie down teenage star being chased by West Ham, Crystal Palace

Michael Carrick Middlesbrough boss

Middlesbrough are hoping to finalise a new long-term agreement with midfielder Pharell Willis, who is a target for a trio of London clubs, TEAMtalk understands.

The talented 18-year-old made his debut against Blackpool in midweek and has impressed new boss Michael Carrick since he took over from Chris Wilder as Boro boss last month.

Speaking about the youngster, Carrick said: “Pharrell has caught the eye. That’s football. You see things as a coach. Certain things catch your eye.

“He plays with that spark, that freedom, he’s had a good attitude. It’s the choice you make.

“I’m like that not just with young lads but anyone. You’ll get a chance if you deserve it and if you take it, fantastic.

“Even better when you’re a young lad and it’s your first one.”

We understand that a number of clubs in his native London had been showing an interest.

Those clubs include West ham, Crystal Palace and QPR. However, Boro are determined to tie the teenager down after they spotted him playing non-league football a couple of years ago.

Carrick looking to strengthen Boro squad

Carrick, meanwhile, is already plotting his first raid as Boro boss with Manchester United youngster Zidane Iqbal on his radar.

The midfielder made his Red Devils debut last year in a Champions League clash with Young Boys. Now, he is on the periphery of Erik ten Hag’s squad.

Iqbal is rated highly at Old Trafford, so United officials do not want to lose him. That said, they could allow him to leave on loan, which might benefit his development.

The 19-year-old signed a contract extension until 2025 with the option of a further year back in June.