JOSE Mourinho and Pep Guardiola are losing the race to sign highly-rated Bury youngster Jacob Bedeau – with Aston Villa the surprise early front-runners.

The Manchester clubs are among a host of top English clubs monitoring the 17-year-old defender.

However, the Bury Times understands the Villans are leading the way and have already opened negotiations with a substantial bid, though the two clubs have yet to reach an agreement. Bury chairman Stewart Day is expected to hold out for a sum close to the seven-figure mark, plus substantial sell-on clauses and bonuses.

It has been 20 years since the Shakers last sold a player for £1million, when David Johnson made the switch to Ipswich Town in 1997.

The scouting area at Gigg Lane has been packed out in recent weeks with 27 clubs sending representatives for the recent victory against Peterborough.

Bedeau, Callum Styles and George Miller are the key talents drawing the interest.

Meanwhile, head coach Chris Brass will be sweating on the fitness of right-back Taylor Moore ahead of the trip to Port Vale tonight.

The defender withdrew from action against Posh but Bury have been unable to assess the full extent of the damage, meaning Tom Soares’ return from suspension could fill the void.

“We are waiting on Taylor’s injury to settle,” Brass said. “It was disappointing to see him come off injured at the weekend but hopefully it won’t be anything too serious, we will have to wait and see. It’s pleasing that Tom can come back in to the fold. Getting bodies back is just what we need.”

Vale’s game against MK Dons was postponed last weekend because of snow, meaning Brass is left guessing how Michael Brown’s side will line up after a weekend off. He is excited about the prospect of a match under the floodlights, however.

“With it being a Friday night it offers something different and adds a little spice to the game,” Brass added. “It’s always strange when your opponent has missed a weekend because you never know what to expect.

“Our performances have been good recently and we will go into the game full of confidence, given Saturday’s result and performance.”