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Aston Villa lead race ahead of Man United to sign 16-year-old Kerr Smith from Dundee United

Aston Villa are reportedly ahead of Manchester United in the race to sign Dundee United defender Kerr Smith, who has already had a trial with the Birmingham-based club.

According to the Scottish Sun, the 16-year-old centre-back is likely to end up at Villa this summer, with Dean Smith’s side willing to pay the £500,000 fee for the teenage defender as well as extras as the Premier League club pull ahead of Manchester United in the race for Smith.

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The Scottish youngster signed a professional deal with Dundee in November, seemingly ending any speculation that Smith could leave his boyhood club, yet this latest report seems to indicate that Villa remains hot on the defender’s heels, and that they are keen to acquire his signature this summer add to their youth ranks.

Birmingham Live reported at the time that Smith had spent a period on trial with Villa before agreeing to a professional contract with Dundee last year, with the defender also spending some time with Manchester United as well as Everton keeping tabs on the teenager, who has made three first-team appearances this season for the Terrors.

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TBR View: Beating out PL giants shows level of trust Villa hand in youth

When the likes of Manchester United and Everton are interested in a youth player, it’s often the case that the youngster, in general, will join one of these big clubs in the Premier League given their stature and reputation, but Villa’s lead in the race for Smith shows that the tide is turning.

Players coming through academies these days are more conscious of their decisions rather than chasing after the biggest clubs with the best and brightest names, and given Villa’s impressive stream of academy graduates in recent years and the impact they have had on the first-team, this might have given the Villains the edge in their pursuit of Smith despite bigger teams being interested in the highly-rated teenager.

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