Manchester United are poised to sign 21-year-old English centre-back Louis Laing after the former England Under-19 international quit Sunderland.
According to the Mirror, Laing impressed the coaching staff at Old Trafford during a recent trial and will be offered terms on a contract. The 6ft 3in defender, who is described as a ‘giant’, was recently told by Sunderland that he is not part of their future plans, despite being rated as one of the club’s brightest prospects several years ago.
But Manchester United, along with Newcastle United and Blackburn Rovers, believe Laing could still develop into a top centre-back - and are prepared to take a gamble on the youngster.
The Red Devils are expected to win the race for his signature. Laing will initially be attached to the club’s reserve team after being headhunted by development coach Warren Joyce, who believes the youngster has the potential ability to cement a first-team place.
That task, however, will be easier said than done for Laing. Manchester United already have three relatively young and highly-rated centre-backs in their first team squad - Chris Smalling, Phil Jones and Jonny Evans - while Rio Ferdinand is also still at the club, although the 35-year-old’s contract expires this summer. Club captain Nemanja Vidic, however, will definitely leave Old Trafford at the end of the season after agreeing terms with Inter Milan.
Laing will ultimately need to decide whether he wants first-team football now, or whether he is prepared to play the waiting game at one of the world’s biggest clubs.