Watford have paved the way for a north London battle for Stevenage starlet Ben Wilmot after ending their interest in signing him.
The Hornets had been chasing the defender alongside Premier League rivals Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur, but Sky Sports has now confirmed that they are no longer interested in bringing Wilmot to Vicarage Road.
That leaves the Gunners and Spurs in a capital fight to land Wilmot's signature, who is thought to be valued at around £1m by his club
BREAKING: @WatfordFC say they have ended their interest in @StevenageFC's Ben Wilmot. Club spokesperson tells #SSN they have moved on to other options after £500k bid rejected in January. pic.twitter.com/quhMQ9joTO— Sky Sports News (@SkySportsNews) April 10, 2018
Watford had made a £500,000 bid for the England Under-19 international in the January transfer window, but were rebuffed in their advances for Wilmot.
Despite media reports suggesting they would move for him again in the summer, a source close to the Hornets told Sky Sports that the Hertfordshire-based team no longer wished to poach him from League Two.
The source said: "The club have moved on in its list of targets and priorities. A bid was turned down in the last window and there is no longer any interest."
We’ll let Arsenal have a punt then — Tony (@D_unstable) April 10, 2018
Stevenage admitted at the start of April that Wilmot was edging towards the exit door, and it seems that a straight fight between Arsenal and Tottenham will see Wilmot head to London when the current campaign ends.
Wilmot was omitted from Stevenage's squad for the clash with Mansfield Town on Tuesday as speculation continued to persist over his future, and Stevenage chairman Phil Wallace stated that his lack of involvement was due to apparent negotiations with interested parties.
"Ben came back from International Duty with England last week and we have had developments that suggest a deal will be agreed shortly for him to move when the window opens.
Unbelievable moment to represent my country and alongside such a top group of lads. Great experience but now back home to finish off the season strongly pic.twitter.com/K1g91HsCL2— Ben Wilmot (@BenWilmot33) March 28, 2018
"We have made public our valuation and the closer we are getting to that the more likely it is that Ben will move."