Leeds contract offer imperative in keeping Manchester United-linked Lewis Cook

As reports link Lewis Cook to a number of Premier League sides, including Manchester United, should Leeds do everything in their power to keep the youngster?

According to reports, Manchester United have been keeping close tabs on Leeds and England Under-18 midfielder Lewis Cook. 

The 17-year-old made his debut at the start of the season and he has quickly become an important part of the Leeds team, emerging as one of the brightest prospects outside the top flight this season.

Having appeared in all but two of Leeds’s 24 league games thus far, he has attracted the attention of a number of elite Premier League clubs. As such, the Red Devils may face compeititon from the likes of Liverpool, Arsenal and Tottenham.

Leeds president Massimo Cellino is understandably desperate to keep the youngster at Elland Road and has offered him a new deal worth around £4,000-a-week, but the Italian knows he can do little to stop Cook from leaving if one of the big guns come calling.

  TeamPass Acc (%)Key Pass/ AppShots/ AppShot Acc (%)Won Dribble/ AppWon Tackle/ AppIntercept/ AppAerial Won/ AppAppsMins Played
Lewis Cook Leeds 78 0.91 0.55 17 1.09 1.5 1.95 0.5 22 1,617
Average Joe - 80 1.06 1.17 29 0.61 1.23 1.11 0.82 12.3 835.24

Cook is drawing the attention of some of England's most established sides, and for good reason. When compared to the average statistics for a midfield player, he emerges superior in a number of key areas.

His distribution - both his average pass success and chance creation rate - may see him fall just short of the standard expected in the division, while he averages fewer shots than most per game. Despite making 22 appearances this term, he is yet to score a goal, or fashion an assist. 

Nonetheless, Cook's undoubted talent lies in the often less celebrated aspects of a midfielder's game - his intelligence, both in attacking and defensive capacity, supplemented by his incredible technique.

His capability with the ball has revealed itself impressively this season, particularly in terms of his ability to take on an opponent. The 17-year-old has averaged 1.09 successful dribbles per appearance, to date, almost twice the division average.

Cook shows a perceptive intelligence in his defensive game that stretches far beyond his years. He has registered an impressive 1.95 interceptions per match, while making 1.5 tackles per game.

Also important to note is his disciplinary record - for a defensive-minded midfielder to have picked up just two yellow cards at this stage of the season is extremely impressive. He is clearly years ahead of most his age with regards to his technique and footballing IQ.

Leeds United may be languishing at the wrong end of the Championship table, but with youngsters as talented as Cook coming through the ranks, this could soon change for the better.

First and foremost, they should look to tie the teenager down to a new contract. But if the inevitable does occur, Cellino could, and should, hold out for more than the £10million figure currently being reported. 

Receiving such a measly fee for a player showing this level of potential would prove a significant blow for the West Yorkshire outfit.

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