Fulham have joined Newcastle United in the race to sign Sheffield United’s highly-rated teenage defender Harry Maguire, according to the Sun.

Newcastle have been watching the 18 year-old centre back since the start of the season and appeared set to agree a £3m fee with the Blades for the talented youngster. The Sheffield-born Maguire, who starred for the club’s youth team in the run to the FA Youth Cup final last year, signed a new four-two deal back in November after establishing himself as one of United’s best prospects having been named man of the match after marking Craig Bellamy impressively on his debut against Cardiff in April 2011.

Maguire, who made four further appearances last season, couldn’t prevent United from slipping into League One but has become a key figure at the heart of Danny Wilson’s defence as the Blades look to return to the Championship at the first attempt. He scored his first goal for the club on the opening day of the season at Oldham and has made 31 appearances so far this season. Fulham’s interest in the 6ft 2.6in centre back could spark a bidding war, with plenty of Premier League scouts having made the journey to watch Maguire over the past year.