A Championship starlet tipped for big things could soon become the subject of a transfer tussle between West Ham and Everton, per a report.
Now both firmly established in the Premier League mid-table, West Ham and Everton will be assessing how they can each take the next step. The Hammers made strides forward last season when securing a superb sixth-placed finish. But with a tricky Europa League campaign to juggle, matching that level of success will be doubly difficult this year.
One way to safeguard their futures would be through stealing a march on their rivals in the transfer market.
And per online publication Football Insider, that is precisely what the Hammers and Toffees are aiming to do.
Their article claims Preston North End’s Lewis Leigh is catching the eye of many top tier clubs.
A source close to West Ham reportedly told the outlet the club’s scouting department have been ‘hugely impressed’ with Leigh.
The 17-year-old midfielder signed his first professional contract in August with the deal running to 2024.
Despite being yet to make his senior debut, Leigh was reportedly heavily involved with the first-team throughout pre-season training.
West Ham are described as determined to ‘keep tabs’ on the youngster over the coming months. They reportedly regard him as more than ‘capable of developing into a Premier League player.’
However, David Moyes’ side will likely not have it all their own way. Everton are also credited with interest.
West Ham facing Lingard bidding war?
Meanwhile, David Moyes remains keen to bring in Jesse Lingard during the January transfer window – but the West Ham boss has been warned to expect a bidding war for the Man Utd man.
The 28-year-old has fallen back to his previous level of game time following his loan spell in London. He starred for West Ham last season, netting nine goals in 16 games. But while a packed United September schedule presents opportunities, Lingard has still only played 28 minutes this season.
And pundit Kevin Phillips, speaking to Football Insider, insists there will be plenty of clubs keen to rival West Ham.
“It’s still a no brainer,” Phillips said of Lingard leaving in January. “We all know his game time will be limited and I don’t think he’ll sign a new deal.
“He will probably let his contract run down and he could go in January or wait for West Ham in the summer.
“Then he can demand even more wages and plenty of clubs can one-up each other then. So that might be the best move for him.
“Once it gets to January there will be other clubs interested, I’m sure. I wouldn’t say the writing is on the wall but it’s clear it’s time for Lingard to move on.