A host of leading English Premier League clubs are keeping tabs on Wigan Athletic youth prospect Joe Gelhardt – including Manchester City, reports the Daily Star.
The 17-year-old striker made his professional debut in August 2018, coming off the bench for Wigan against Rotherham in the first round of the EFL Cup. He has now played eight times for the Championship side, and notched his first and only goal for the club against Hull City in September. These efforts have not gone unnoticed.
Manchester City, alongside Manchester United, Liverpool, Everton and Tottenham have ‘all been monitoring the rapid development’ of the English teenager, according to the Daily Star. Chelsea, managed by former Manchester City player Frank Lampard, are said to be the newest addition to the list of clubs keeping a watchful eye over Gelhardt.
Indicative of how highly rated Gelhardt is, the forward was awarded the captain’s armband for England’s U18s in October, where he duly scored a brace in a 3-2 victory over Austria. The Latics will be hoping Gelhardt can emulate the success of their most notable academy graduate Leighton Baines – who has made over 400 Premier League appearances for Wigan and Everton. For now, they will be content if the youngster can help them overcome the Championship relegation battle they are currently embroiled in.
Wigan allegedly value the forward at around £5 million, in addition to the likely inclusion of expensive add-ons in any deal. However, with the Latics’ financial position said to be sound, a January exit is deemed doubtful by the Daily Star. Furthermore, Gelhardt recently penned a new long-term deal with the club; the exact length of the contract has not been revealed.
Liverpool and Chelsea may boast the best chance of prizing the youngster away from Wigan. Gelhardt is a Liverpool fan, while Chelsea possess good relations with Wigan due to recent loan deals agreed between the two. Nevertheless, Manchester City’s appeal to any young player cannot be underestimated, and should they wish they may well prove able to tempt Gelhardt to try and follow in the footsteps of Sergio Aguero.
You can follow us for live updates here: @City_Xtra