Hammers chasing Arsenal and Leeds target - reports

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West Ham have reportedly emerged as the frontrunners to sign Macclesfield defender Elliot Hewitt, despite interest from Arsenal and Leeds.

The 17-year-old has made 12 appearances for the Silkmen this season - including 11 starts - and continues to impress all and sundry with composed and cultured displays at right-back.

According to The Mirror, Sam Allardyce sent a Hammers scout to run the rule over Hewitt at the weekend and the east London club are now leading the race for his signature.

It is claimed the Hammers could make an attempt to bring Hewitt to Upton Park as early as January and Macclesfield are reported to be prepared to sell to the highest bidder.

However, Leeds have also been credited with a representative at Moss Rose on Saturday to keep tabs on the Welsh starlet as Macclesfield lost 2-0 to Southend.

West Ham, though, are able to demonstrate greater financial clout in the transfer market than Leeds, with the latter's chairman Ken Bates having come under fire for his frugal regime at Elland Road.

Meanwhile, it was reported last week that Arsenal are also tracking on Hewitt as Arsene Wenger continues to put his faith in youth.

It would certainly not be unusual for the Arsenal boss to raid the lower leagues for young talent, with Carl Jenkinson and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain both having made the step up to the top-flight during the summer.

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