Manchester United and Liverpool will face a summer battle for Crewe Alexandra youngster Max Clayton. The Express believes the 18-year-old forward has refused to extend his present contract, which expires next summer.

The League One side will likely be forced to sell him this summer if they cannot extend the player's contract. Steve Davis' side will be due compensation in any case but any transfer fee is likely to be a larger amount.

Max Clayton (L)

"I will speak to Max's agent next week about his future, the signs haven't been good, but until I have that discussion it's difficult to know what will happen," Davis explained.

"There would be compensation if he was to leave at the end of his contract because he's under 24, but that's not big enough reward for the work we've put in with Max to make him what he is," he added.

Clayton has had a good season with Crewe, with four goals and two assists from 22 starts. His overall performance helped the side finish in a comfortable mid-table position and he scored the second goal in the club's Johnstone's Paint Trophy triumph. Crewe beat Southend United 2-0 at Wembley.

"He's a lad who wants to progress and does well, but he's not ready to go in my opinion and I've told him that. He is not ready to go and play for anyone's first team, either in the Premier League or even in the Championship. He's just coming to terms with this division," Davis explained, warning both his young star and potential suitors.

"He knows he's got a lot of improvements to make. He has to be patient. If he's here for an extra year and does well he will have a queue of clubs after him," he said.

Crewe did business with Premier League champions Manchester United last summer, over the sale of midfielder Nick Powell. The 19-year-old had a reasonably impressive first season at Old Trafford and even started two Champions League games (against Galatasary and CFR Cluj). Powell scored his first ever Premier League goal in September, in United's 4-0 home defeat of Wigan Athletic.