Manchester United are thought to be ahead in the hunt for exciting 16-year-old Sunderland striker Joe Hugill, as reported by the Express.
Hugill, who has yet to make an appearance for the Black Cats, has also attracted the attention of Spurs, but it is Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side who have moved into pole position.
Hugill has impressed for Sunderland Under-18s of late, showing the sort of promise that had scouts flocking to watch Josh Maja and Joel Asoro. Tottenham were thought to be scouting him prior to the recent crisis and were close to a move, but with football on hold, Manchester United have seized the initiative.
It is believed that Man Utd have been in contact with Sunderland over Hugill’s future, with a potential six-figure fee with add-ons being suggested. The Red Devils are no strangers to Sunderland’s youth setup, having already picked up promising left-back Logan Pye earlier this year.
Sunderland coach Paul Bryson has already blasted the Black Cat’sinability to stop bigger clubs grabbing their best youngsters. The Academy of Light attracts some of the finest young players from across the country, but their lowly league position means even with opportunities afforded to the likes of Denver Hume and Josh Maja, players are increasingly likely to leave before they reach that stage
“What perhaps the public don’t realise is that in a year, we have lost four of our outstanding prospects to big Premier League clubs such as Arsenal and Liverpool,” he told the Sunderland Echo.
“The latest was only last week when 16-year-old left back Logan Pye was tempted to switch to Man United. We cannot offer professional terms until players are 17 so we are powerless to stop this practice. It is very disheartening to lose good players who have been with the club since they were nine-years-old.”
Sunderland are a huge club, but player’s heads can be turned with the promise of Premier League football further down the line. The Academy of Light is as good as any in the top flight, but with the current pandemic hitting clubs hard, can the Black Cats survive another season without making huge cuts?
That would only further degrade their ability to keep the younger players and the longer they languish in the third-tier, the more likely they are to lose their top young players to bigger clubs for paltry sums. Sadly, they’re getting to a place where those paltry sums are important in staying afloat.