Arsenal look set to lose out on Ben Wilmot as Watford beat a host of clubs to the 18-year-old’s signature.
Wilmot was withdrawn from the Stevenage squad at the weekend as a move was close to being agreed but at that time it was not clear who had won the race for his signature.
On Tuesday, the S*n reported that Watford had agreed a deal in excess of £1.5m.
The Football League paper reported at the weekend that the 18-year-old seems ‘certain’ to move this summer while the S*n claimed both Arsenal and Tottenham have made official approaches for the player in the past only to be rebuffed.
“We have made public our valuation,” said Stevenage chairman Phil Wallace. “The closer we are getting to that the more likely it is that Ben will move.”
That valuation was said to be between £1m (The Independent) and £2m (The S*n), which is exactly what Watford have agreed.
The Hornets originally had a bid of £500,000 turned down while Tottenham are believed to have bid slightly less than that. There is no information regarding any bid from Arsenal at this point, although that’s not to say one wasn’t made.
“Ben came back from International Duty with England last week and we have had developments that suggest a deal will be agreed shortly for him to move when the window opens,” Wallace added.
“We have had interest from Premier League and Championship clubs, which is not surprising when Ben is recognised by England as being one of the top four centre halves at his age level, with the other three coming from Man City, Chelsea and Spurs.”
Wilmot is a 6ft2 centreback and the only player outside the top two divisions to get a call-up to the England u19 squad for their recent Euro qualifiers. Stevenage play in League Two.
Until 12 months ago he was playing as a midfielder.
He came through the ranks at Stevenage but has only been in the first team for the past six months.
“I’m really excited but it still hasn’t really sunk in,” Wilmot told The Independent in his first major newspaper interview after his England call-up.
“I personally don’t really see what I’ve done to achieve it. I know of a lot of my team-mates, but I don’t know them personally. A lot of them are from higher-ranked clubs, and I’ve never been to that level.”
Stevenage won 1-0 at Newport on Saturday afternoon.