Premier League clubs Leeds United and Southampton have set their sights on signing Manchester United youngster James Garner in the summer.

According to the Sun, the Whites have been tracking Garner’s progress at Nottingham Forest during his season-long loan and plan to lodge a bid during the summer transfer window.

United are unlikely to be open to a permanent move for the 20-year-old given Darren Fletcher, the club’s technical director, recently stated that Garner would be amongst the first team fold come pre-season.

Unless a transfer bid proves too irresistible to turn down, the England under-21 international is more likely to leave the Reds on loan once again, but this time in the top-flight, and this could be useful for his further development.

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A loan move to either Leeds or Southampton could well be a possibility. However, United would want assurances that Garner would receive regular game time during his spell.

Despite the rivalry between Leeds and United, the two clubs were able to negotiate a permanent transfer last summer when Dan James joined the Yorkshire club.

However, if Nottingham Forest do manage to secure promotion to the top-flight, Steve Cooper’s side are likely to be in the driving seat to sign Garner on loan for a third consecutive campaign.

Garner’s departure will unlikely be sanctioned until United have sufficient midfield reinforcements, and the new manager will want to take a look at him.

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With uncertainty surrounding the futures of Juan Mata, Jesse Lingard, Paul Pogba, Nemanja Matic and Donny van de Beek, United could go into the start of next season light on midfield options.

There is a chance that Garner could impress the new permanent manager and establish himself in the United first team, but midfield signings are likely to be made.

Garner’s short-term focus will be helping Forest get past Huddersfield Town tonight and set up and FA Cup quarter-final clash against Liverpool.

In Friday night’s 1-1 draw at Sheffield United, James Garner picked up his fourth assist of the season to go along with his three goals from 32 appearances.

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