Big clubs in the English Premier League are taking an interest in Dundee United’s rising young star Lewis Neilson, Courier Sport can reveal.
Everton, Leicester City, Southampton and Leeds United all sent scouts to Tannadice on Saturday to watch the talented and versatile defender play against Celtic – and left hugely impressed by his performance.
Neilson, who only recently turned 17, started the first game of the season as one of three centre-backs against St Johnstone. Against the champions, he played at right-back.
Neilson has been converted from a central midfielder in United’s youth academy, where he has come through the age-groups from 10-years-old.
Shortly before the coronavirus shutdown he was called up for the Scotland under-17 squad.
Neilson is just one of a number of players making the step-up from United’s academy to the first team, bringing back memories of previous generations when the club was renowned for its conveyor belt of home-grown talent.
He is viewed as the pick of the bunch – a centre-back who can play at full-back and has the pace, composure and physical attributes to get to a high level in the game.
The Courier understands that it would take a seven-figure offer to get the attention of the recently-promoted club, who have made an excellent start to the Premiership season under Micky Mellon.
There is no danger of a Scott Banks-type scenario developing, where United had to accept a relatively low fee from Crystal Palace as the winger was going to let his contract run down.
Not only is local lad Neilson very happy at Tannadice, he is also tied down for the next three years.
The appeal for the big English clubs of signing players like Neilson is that post-Brexit it will be far more difficult to recruit young footballers from Europe under the age of 18.