Leeds United are set to lose out in the hunt for 17-year-old Luke Chapman, according to an article by TeamTalk.
The 17-year-old is highly rated in the north east, but Hartlepool are set to close their academy in the wake of the recent pandemic, meaning their young stars are looking for new clubs. It’s reported Leeds were one side looking to Chapman, but he now looks set to remain in the area and sign for League One side Sunderland.
It’s believed the youngster has spent the pre-season period training at the Academy of Light and is hoping to follow in the footsteps of a number of young strikers who have come through the ranks there in the past few years. Josh Maja made a name for himself after joining at a similar age before moving to France, whilst Jack Diamond has thrived courtesy of his time there, along with the loan spell at Harrogate Town.
It’s also believed that Middlesbrough and Newcastle were hoping to take the youngster on, but in a rare piece of good news for the Black Cats, they are favourites to develop him further. However, it is believed Conor Rennison is still a target for the Whites, another young Pools player who looks set to leave. He’s also coveted by Barnsley and Charlton Athletic, of the Championship and League One respectively.
Hartlepool slipped out of the Football league at the end of the 2016/17 season and have struggled to have an impact on the National League, finishing 15th, 16th and 12th in their three-year stint in the fifth tier.
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The fact Hartlepool are seeing their academy close is heartbreaking; smaller clubs rely on developing players for long term prosperity and it must be incredibly tough to see such promising talent walking away as a result of external forces.
Hartlepool are a team with a rich lower league history, but like many of our member clubs who fall into the non-league scene, they’ve found it tough to thrive. Their loss could well be Sunderland’s gain though, the Black Cats will be getting another rough, uncut diamond to polish. A loan spell somewhere like Gateshead or South Shields would be great for Chapman, should he put pen to paper as expected.