Liverpool and Manchester United 'target' signs contract extension in £40m transfer blow

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One of Liverpool's reported summer targets has committed his future to Leeds United

Leeds United youngster and reported Liverpool transfer target Archie Gray has agreed a contract extension at Elland Road, which will keep him at the Championship club until the summer of 2028. The 17-year-old's previous deal was due to run out at the end of the 2024-25 campaign.

He has enjoyed a breakthrough year under Daniel Farke, playing in central midfield and at right-back for Leeds, with reports in the autumn that his performances had caught the attention of Liverpool, who were said to be preparing a £40m offer in the summer. Everton, Crystal Palace and Manchester United had also been linked but a move for the latter always appeared unlikely given Gray's allegiances to Leeds. A big rivalry exists between the two clubs, with another Leeds academy graduate Kalvin Phillips openly snubbing a move to Old Trafford before making the switch to Manchester City.

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Gray's new contract will become active on his 18th birthday, which is in March of this year. He made his professional debut for Leeds against Cardiff City in August and has since played 28 times in all competitions. The youngster signed his first professional deal with Leeds last year, but it has been reported the club's plan was to always offer him a new one once he turned 18. FA rules meant Gray was unable to sign a contract beyond the summer of 2025 until he turned 18, as his new deal will come into effect once he reaches that age in March.

Gray is naturally a central midfielder but has been operating at right back for Leeds, with comparisons being drawn to Liverpool's Trent Alexander-Arnold. He is a boyhood Leeds fan, however, and is the son of former striker Andy Gray, grandson of former Scotland international Frank Gray and great-nephew to Leeds legend Eddie Gray.

“It feels amazing, it’s another dream come true,” Gray told Leeds' official website of his new deal. “Supporting Leeds and following the club my whole life, it is just a dream come true, like I said. It means a lot to me and my family, the club trust me and trust my family and hopefully I can repay it.

"I was hoping to play a bit this season, but I didn’t expect to be playing as much as I have been, it just shows the trust everyone has in me and it means a lot to me. I think my game has developed a lot, the experience is invaluable in the Championship, it’s a physical league which has everything."

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The new deal for Gray makes Leeds' position on the player's future clear but the Reds may still be tempted to test the waters in the summer, although the Whites are in a much stronger position to knock back any advances if rival clubs come calling.

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