West Ham and Leeds United are interested in Middlesbrough’s star defender Dael Fry and are keeping a close eye on the Championship centre-back.

According to Football League World, West Ham and Leeds United are among a host of Premier League clubs keen on signing Middlesbrough defender Dael Fry in the summer transfer window as they look to bolster their defensive ranks.

Fry came through the Boro production line and made his senior debut at the tender age of just 17. The 24-year-old has been a mainstay in the starting XI for several seasons now, already making over 150 senior appearances.

He has regularly worn the captain’s armband at the Riverside Stadium and is widely regarded as one of the standout defenders in the second tier of English football, drawing comparisons to Manchester City defender John Stones owing to his style of play.

The English centre-back seems to be really thriving under new manager Chris Wilder and has taken a more commanding role at the heart of a three-man defence. He has also impressed with his ball-playing capabilities, helping the Teessiders’ push for promotion – they currently sit outside the playoff spots only on goal difference.

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Chris Wilder’s side picked up a remarkable FA Cup victory away to Manchester United last Friday and will be optimistic about their prospects of promotion. However, if they do not end up in the top flight next season, there is always the possibility of losing their best players come summer. That includes Dael Fry, who is courting interest from the Premier League duo West Ham and Leeds United.

Hammers boss David Moyes was keen to sign a central defender in January after Angelo Ogbonna was ruled out for the season with an ACL injury. However, West Ham failed to strengthen their defence during the mid-season trading period and are expected to add to the squad in the summer.

Moreover, there is a general lack of depth in the central defensive department, with Craig Dawson into his thirties and Issa Diop putting in inconsistent displays at the back. Standing at 6 ft 4in, Fry is aerially dominant and represents the perfect blend of youthful exuberance, experience and leadership to bolster Moyes’ options while contributing to the homegrown criteria.

Like West Ham, Leeds ended the winter window without making a senior signing. While a centre-back is hardly a priority for the Whites, they would do well by adding further depth given their injury woes this term. Leeds’ sporting director, Victor Orta, has a prior working relationship with Boro and is a big admirer of defender Dael Fry.

Leeds boss Marcelo Bielsa has a track record of working wonders with Championship players, transforming the likes of Patrick Bamford, Kalvin Phillips, Liam Cooper and Luke Ayling into solid Premier League performers. There is no reason that he cannot repeat the trick with Fry.

Apart from Leeds and West Ham, Wolves, Burnley, Brighton, Southampton and Brentford have also been named as potential suitors for the Englishman. The 24-year-old is contracted at the Riverside Stadium until 2023, with Boro set to demand around £20 million for their prized asset in the summer. Whether any top-flight club ends up launching a summer swoop for Fry remains to be seen.

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