We look destined to lose £1m Mason Holgate to Manchester United, admits Barnsley chief Lee Johnson

Mason Holgate looks to be on his way to Manchester United
Mason Holgate looks to be on his way to Manchester United
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Barnsley hot-shot Mason Holgate could soon be on his way to Manchester United.

But Reds boss Lee Johnson is praying the highly-rated 18-year-old defender will decide to stay at Oakwell despite interest from the former Premier League champions.

Teenager Holgate played 22 times last season in his first campaign in the Reds’ first team.

And since impressing at right-back and centre-back there have been so shortage of suitors for Holgate’s sought-after signature.

Aston Villa were understood to be the first Premier League side interested in signing Holgate, with Arsenal having also expressed an interested in signing the player.

But Doncaster-born Holgate has trained with Manchester United for a week and is rumoured to be close to agreeing a £1million transfer to Old Trafford.

The player is due to train with United this week with a deal seemingly looking ever closer. And Johnson revealed to The Star: “There’s been a lot of interest in Mason and, at this stage it looks like we’re destined to lose him.

“But you never know what’s going to happen.

“The player can always change his mind.

“It’s great for the lad to be training with Manchester United, it’s a fantastic opportunity.

“But of course I want him to stay and really feel as though he could benefit from a full season in our first team.”

And Johnson doesn’t believe he has a hard sell on his hands to try and persuade Holgate to stay in South Yorkshire. He added: “It’s an easy sell to try and keep Mason here.

“He played quite a lot of games last season, but I think the best route for him is to play 40 games for us next season and get as much experience as he can.

“There’s lot of different routes to the top, but hopefully he decides to stay with us. But of course it must been really tempting to go to United or another Premier League club.

“The question then is how many games will you play?

“You could go out on loan, but selfishly I want Mason to stay and develop more as a player here.”