Leeds United target Ashley Fletcher has hinted that he plans to remain at Manchester United this summer, despite leaving a contract offer unsigned.
Fletcher’s current deal at Old Trafford ends in a fortnight’s time and he is yet to accept the offer of a fresh deal from the Premier League club with Leeds and other Championship sides ready to hand him immediate first-team football.
Barnsley, where Fletcher finished this season on loan, want to re-sign him after their promotion from League One but Leeds are also monitoring a talented forward who scored nine goals in 27 appearances at Oakwell.
United are anxious to increase their goal-scoring threat under new head coach Garry Monk and the club have also targeted Oxford United’s Kemar Roofe, the League Two player-of-the- year who finished the 2015-16 term with 26 goals.
Roofe is under contract until 2018 and would command a seven-figure fee but Fletcher has left the door open to a summer move to Elland Road by refusing to rush into accepting an extension at Manchester United.
The youngster, however, told Manchester United’s website that he had noted the progress made by 18-year-old Marcus Rashford at Old Trafford in the past 18 months and was looking to emulate it.
Rashford broke into Manchester United’s first team in February and earned an unexpected place in England’s Euro 2016 squad with a goal from every two of his 19 games.
Fletcher, who went to Barnsley in January and has never made a first-team appearance for his parent club, said: “It’s unfortunate I left but, at the same time, it’s beneficial for my career.
“Hopefully, when I go back I’ll get my chance in the future. That’s the ultimate goal – playing for Manchester United.”
Leeds would be required to pay a small sum in compensation for Fletcher due to his age.
Born in Keighley, Fletcher joined Bolton Wanderers at nine, before moving to Old Trafford at 13.
He signed his first professional contract at Manchester United in May, 2014, went on loan to Barnsley in January and scored on his professional debut in a 1–1 draw with Fleetwood Town in the JP Trophy Northern Area final first leg.
Barnsley won that competition at Wembley and when they returned to the national stadium for the League One play-off final, Fletcher scored the opening goal in the Reds’ 3–1 victory against Millwall.
Fletcher also scored for England Under-2os against Canada in March, partnering Rashford up front.