PEP GUARDIOLA is lining up a January swoop for Leeds whizkid Jack Clarke.
The Manchester City boss has been monitoring winger Clarke’s progress since the teenager penned his first professional contract 13 months ago.
Now he is ready to pounce when the transfer window re-opens next month.
Guardiola is primed to make his move after getting glowing reports from his spies on Clarke’s form in the Whites 1-0 triumph at fellow promotion chasers Sheffield United last Saturday.
Clarke, 18, was a game changer in the Yorkshire derby after coming on as a second-half sub for Ezgjan Alioski and setting up Pablo Hernandez for his side’s winner eight minutes from time.
Champions City lead the chase to land the latest hot prospect to roll off the Leeds production line from a clutch of Premier League rivals.
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But Hernandez, 33, hopes York-born Clarke will stay with the reviving Yorkshire giants and help them bring top flight football back to Elland Road after a painful 14 years in lower league exile.
The veteran Spanish wide-man said: “Jack has a lot of quality, and I think he can be a big player in the future for Leeds United.
“You look at him and it’s obvious to see that he gives us different things on the pitch on both wings.
“He can have more opportunities this season to give us a lot of things, and I think he is a young player who is important for us.
Who is Jack Clarke?
JACK CLARKE plays as a winger for Leeds.
He was born in York and came through the academy at Leeds.
After interest from City at the end of last year, Clarke signed his first pro contract with Leeds last November.
He was first called up to Leeds’ first team in January this year and made his debut in October, coming on as a sub in the 1-1 draw against Brentford.
“He is one of the young players who bring some positive things in the team.”
Leeds chief Marcelo Bielsa added:”Jack did some very good work at Sheffield, but every time he plays he makes the difference.
“And he can only learn from watching Pablo and playing alongside him.”