CREWE Alexandra could miss out on last season’s loan star Chuks Aneke with Leeds United emerging as the favourites to sign the former Arsenal youngster.

The Championship club are reportedly keen on taking the 20-year-old, who netted 16 goals to keep Crewe in League One last season.

Boss Steve Davis revealed this week that he had spoken to both player and agent about a possible permanent move to Gresty Road.

However, the lure of the second-tier and a push for the Premier League could prove too tempting for Aneke following his release from Arsenal.

Peterborough are also among several clubs set to bid for his services.

“I have spoken to Chuks but I think he and his agent will have a number of options to consider,” explained Davis.

“We’d like him and he knows he will continue to get his opportunities here, but he’ll be patient. He’s out of contract and will take his time to weigh up what’s on offer.”

Speculation continues to grow over the future of contract rebel Max Clayton.

Nottingham Forest have been mentioned as a possible option if the striker decides he wants out of South Cheshire.

Davis won’t want the matter to drag on – also setting Byron Moore a deadline to sign a new deal on the table.

The 25-year-old has until the end of the week to agree a 12-month contract extension.

“We need to know in the next three or four days,” added Davis. “He’s had about a month which is enough time I think.

“I’ve said I want him to stay, he still has the potential he’s had since he was 16. He hasn’t reached it yet, but there is still time.”

Former Stoke City keeper Steve Simonsen, 35, Ian Bennett, 42, and Scott Shearer, 33, are all in the frame to replace Steve Phillips.

Davis will scour the free market as he looks to bring in new recruits this month.

“All three fit that bracket,” he said. “They are all players that have been number twos and number ones and still capable of playing.

“There are a lot of free transfers out there and we’ll try to get to get the best ones we can – I don’t think we’ll look to spend any money.

“We’ve done that over the past couple of years with Mark Ellis, Brad (Inman) and Pogs. They were only nominal fees but we’ll look at the free market first.”