Colchester United's leading scorer Sammie Szmodics has been linked with a £1m switch to Premier League side AFC Bournemouth.

Speculation is mounting that the 22-year-old attacker, who has 12 goals to his name for the U's so far this season despite missing six weeks of the campaign due to an ankle injury, is on the verge of a big money move to the Cherries.

Szmodics' fine form this season has been attracting the eye of plenty of watching scouts, with the likes of Middlesbrough and Millwall also linked with the Colchester-born player.

However, it seems as though Bournemouth are now at the front of the queue for the former Stanway School pupil, who was left out of the U's starting line-up for their 4-1 home defeat against Cheltenham Town yesterday.

Colchester boss John McGreal said yesterday: “We changed a couple of players the other day and we've had to do that again, with Szmods.

“His fatigue has shown and that’s just the way it is.

“Sam runs so much – he’s tearing into corners and this, that and the other and four games have taken their toll, not only on him but on a few other boys in there, as well who have been fatiguing.

“The second half was a huge ask for the boys and they haven't been able to do it but we dust ourselves down and go again.”

Szmodics has made nearly 100 league and cup appearances for Colchester since Joe Dunne handed him his senior debut for them back in September, 2013.

He progressed through the U's academy to break into the first team and while his possible departure would be a blow to the U's promotion hopes this season, it would also signal another milestone for the club's academy following in the footsteps of Alex Gilbey who left for Wigan Athletic in June, 2016.