Watford have agreed a five-year deal with 18-year-old Ben Wilmot who was heavily linked with Arsenal towards the end of last season.
In April, it was claimed that Wilmot had been removed from the Stevenage squad due to Arsenal’s interest in the player.
The Football League paper reported that the 18-year-old was ‘certain’ to move this summer while the S*n claimed both Arsenal and Tottenham made official approaches for the player 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 is said to be between £1m (The Independent) and £2m (The S*n).
Watford initially had a bid of £500,000 turned down while Tottenham were believed to have bid slightly less than that. There was no information regarding any bid from Arsenal, although that’s not to say one wasn’t made.
“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,” Wallace added.
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.
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. Stevenage play in League Two.
“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.”