Southampton are reportedly leading the race to sign of AFC Ajax’s teenage goalkeeper Charlie Setford, who is tipped for a bright future in the game.

According to an exclusive report from TEAMtalk, Premier League club Southampton have emerged as the front-runners to clinch the signing of highly-rated AFC Ajax youngster Charlie Setford.

The 17-year-old goalkeeper has been with the Ajax academy for almost a decade, having joined the Dutch giants’ youth setup at the age of seven. Since then, Setford has enjoyed a steady rise through the ranks at the club, with the youngster making his debut for Jong Ajax in August earlier this year, despite being just 17.

Setford has since played three times for the team and has even made the bench in several games with the senior side, although he is yet to make his first-team bow for the Eredivisie giants. 

The youngster is eligible to represent both Netherlands and England, having been born to an English father and Dutch mother. Having represented the Oranje at the Under-15 and Under-16 levels, Setford switched his allegiances to England in 2019 and has since gone on to make four appearances at the Under-18 level after having made his debut earlier this year.

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As per the report, Setford’s performances with Jong Ajax and the England youth sides have put him on the radars of several Premier League clubs. However, Southampton are currently leading the race to clinch the signing of the 17-year-old prospect.

It is claimed that the teenage shot-stopper is a lifelong Saints fan, which certainly serves as an advantage for Ralph Hasenhuttl’s side in pursuit of the highly-rated youngster. Under the Austrian, Southampton have shown that they are prepared to back young talent if they are deserving of the opportunities.

Summer signing Tino Livramento, who arrived from the Chelsea youth setup, has enjoyed a fine breakthrough at St. Mary’s Stadium since his switch. Youngsters like Nathan Tella, Will Smallbone have also received plenty of opportunities over the past year or so under Hasenhuttl. So, it makes the south coast club an attractive destination for up and coming talents.

Setford has a contract with Ajax until 2023. And it will be interesting to see if the youngster does end up making a move to Southampton in the coming months.

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