The Lowdown: Perkins a free agent
The 18-year-old, who Leeds reporter James Marshment has said could be a ‘£20m’ player in ‘three or four years’, departed West Ham on Friday.
The Hammers confirmed that the forward turned down a professional contract at the London Stadium, believing that ‘he was approached to sign for another club which led to him asking to be released from his scholarship’.
Leeds were thought to be lining up a deal for the teenager last month, and Smyth has now made an intriguing claim on a potential Elland Road move.
The Latest: Smyth’s comments on Perkins
Smyth shared a Q&A for The Yorkshire Evening Post on Saturday, answering numerous Whites-related topics.
When asked about Perkins, the reporter described a potential transfer as ‘one to watch’, adding that the forward ‘won’t be without a club for long’.
“West Ham United made it very clear in a statement yesterday that they’re unhappy with the Sonny Perkins situation but ultimately he has left the club and he will sign for someone else. Leeds were far from alone in admiring the 18-year-old this and West Ham did not specify which club they believe have made an approach that has ‘led him to asking to be released from his scholarship.’
“Leeds are making no comment on this one but it’s one to watch. He won’t be without a club for long and whether or not the FA get involved remains to be seen.”
The Verdict: Need to act fast
Leeds now have a free run at signing Perkins after his departure from West Ham, but they may need to be quick to avoid disappointment. Smyth stated that the Whites aren’t alone in admiring the teenager, with Aston Villa linked last month and Tottenham also entering the race in recent days.
Perkins only needs to look at the rise of Joe Gelhardt and Sam Greenwood at Elland Road to see that there is a clear pathway into the first team from academy level, so that could play in Leeds’ favour should the race for the 18-year-old heat up.
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