Leeds United and Southampton target £20m Man City agreement


James McAtee of Sheffield United
James McAtee of Sheffield United celebrates after scoring his team's second goal during the Premier League match between Crystal Palace and Sheffield United at Selhurst Park on January 30, 2024 in London, England. 

Leeds United and Southampton are eyeing a move for Manchester City midfielder James McAtee, according to Give Me Sport.

The 21-year-old spent the previous two seasons at Sheffield United, making a real impact during the 2022/23 campaign to guide the Blades back to the Premier League at the first time of asking but failing to do enough last term to keep them in the top flight.

With United now back in the Championship, it seems unlikely that they will be able to keep the Englishman for yet another season, and he could be set to join a new club during the summer transfer window.

The player is still under contract at the Etihad Stadium until the summer of 2026, but with the player now having just two years remaining on his deal, Pep Guardiola's side may be keen to cash in on the 21-year-old whilst they can still generate a decent fee for him.

Unfortunately for him, he only scored three league goals last term, but that hasn't deterred teams from taking an interest in the talented player, and his scoring record isn't a terrible achievement considering how much the Blades struggled.

With these past two loan deals in mind, McAtee may not be part of Guardiola's plans still, at least in the short term.

And that could persuade the player to try and push for a move away from City, even though it could be his dream to become a first-team regular at the Etihad like Phil Foden and other young players have.

According to Give Me Sport, City are willing to cash in on McAtee if a team can match their £20m valuation.

The same report has claimed that both Leeds and the Saints, who are interested in the 21-year-old, already know this valuation and know the amount they will have to fork out to sign him because of this.

The player doesn't feature in City's long-term plans - and this is a boost to the two interested teams.

However, whoever misses out in the Championship play-off final on Sunday may find it difficult to secure a deal for McAtee, so the two teams could be competing for the midfielder this weekend as well as promotion.

The 21-year-old has proved himself in the second tier now - and this is why he should be looking to stay in the top flight.

His 2023/24 stats may not be hugely impressive, but he's only 21 at this point and has real potential, so he would be an excellent signing for Leeds or the Saints if they went up.

The midfielder deserves to be on a fairly high salary, but his priority needs to be winning as much game time as possible.

If he doesn't win that much game time in the coming years, he risks not being able to fulfil his potential.

This is why he needs to pick his next destination carefully if City aren't going to retain him.

Adam Jones is a 24-year-old writer who graduated from the University for the Creative Arts during the summer of 2022 with a degree in Journalism and Media Production.

He currently works at Football League World as an EFL content writer, covering teams in the second, third and fourth tiers of English football.

He is also an assistant editor at The Tilehurst End, a website and podcast that delves into all things Reading FC.

Adam has been an intern at the Daily Express and the Farnham Herald in the past - and has written more than 10,000 articles during his career.

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