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Watford beat Arsenal, Tottenham and Leeds in race to sign Stevenage’s England U-19s centre-back

Watford have beaten Arsenal and Spurs in the race to sign highly-rated England kid Ben Wilmot from Stevenage, according to The Sun.

The Hornets have agreed a deal worth over £1.5million for the top prospect, who has been a regular in League Two.

Wilmot made his Stevenage debut earlier this season and has only played 15 times for the League Two side in total.

The 18-year-old has nevertheless caught the eye in that time, and earned his first call up to England’s Under-19s last month.

Wilmot was the only player outside of the top two divisions to win a place in the England under-19 squad for the recent European Championship qualifiers.

However, Wilmot was withdrawn from the Stevenage squad on the eve of Saturday’s fixture against Newport County, with a subsequent club statement reading: “Ben came back from international duty and we have had developments that suggest a deal will be agreed shortly for him to move when the window opens.

“We have had interest from Premier League and Championship clubs, which is not surprising when Ben is recognised by England as being one of the top four centre halves at his age level, with the other three coming from Man City, Chelsea and Spurs.

“We have made public our valuation and the closer we are getting to that the more likely it is that Ben will move.”

Watford have seen off Premier League champions Chelsea in the chase and are offering a quicker route to the first team than their much richer rivals.

Arsenal and Spurs are thought to have had previous bids of around £1m rejected.

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