Manchester United have stepped up their interest in Leeds United midfielder Lewis Cook amid competition from leading clubs in the division including Arsenal, Manchester City, Chelsea and Liverpool. Dubbed the "new Paul Scholes", Cook made 38 appearances for the Championship club last season and was awarded the Championship Apprentice of the Year for his impressive performances.
ESPN reports that United are set to steal the march on their rivals in signing the player, with Louis van Gaal looking to invest in youth and secure United's squad for the future. The Dutchman has already signed Memphis Depay and Anthony Martial this season, who could remain with the Red Devils squad, years after Van Gaal's departure.
Cook has already made 13 appearances this season and has established himself as an integral part of the Championship squad. He signed a new deal last summer, which should give Leeds some leverage if there is interest in the player's signature from clubs in the Premier League.
The Red Devils have other pressing needs to address in the next transfer window, with Van Gaal looking to invest in a fast and creative winger to unlock opposition defences, something they have failed to do on a regular basis this season. They have been linked with a move for Arjen Robben, who has fallen out with Robert Lewandowski at Bayern Munich and would consider a move to Old Trafford in the upcoming transfer window.
The Dutchman is also looking at deals for Matt Ritchie, Ayoze Perez and Yacine Brahimi in a bid to boost his attack, which has scored only 17 goals thus far, less than any other teams in the top seven. They broke their 400-minute goalless drought against CSKA Moscow in their last Champions League outing, with Martial scoring the winner. They carried their form into the weekend, scoring two past West Bromwich Albion to keep their position in the top four.