Leeds United are making a concerted effort to land a striker as part of what Jesse Marsch predicts will be an industrious final few hours of a transformative summer transfer window.
A first offer of £17m for Wolves’ Hwang Hee-chan has been turned down and the two clubs remain apart on valuation.
Reports in England say, Leeds are looking at other options, with PSV Eindhoven’s Cody Gakpo on their list.
Few clubs in the Premier League has overseen an overhaul like Leeds’ this summer. They cashed in on star assets Kalvin Phillips and Raphinha and re-invested in players who had been scouted methodically to take the team in a different direction.
Tyler Adams, Brenden Aaronson and Luis Sinisterra have all made an immediate impact in the Premier League, while Marc Roca and Rasmus Kristensen have also shown promise.
But there is a feeling in West Yorkshire that they remain a striker light, which was emphasised by an injury to Rodrigo in Tuesday’s fractious draw against Everton.
“Everyone is trying the best that they can,” Marsch said of Leeds’ efforts. Hwang has “been on our list from the beginning”, he added of a player he has worked with before. Whether they can meet Wolves in the middle with the two clubs some £8m apart on valuation is another matter.
If there is an element of worry that Leeds still look a bit shot shy – and vulnerable to injuries – there is perhaps the need to trust the hierarchy after a summer in which they seem to have emerged stronger than last season’s relegation battle despite two high-profile sales.
“I can only say thanks to Andrea [Radrizzani] and Victor [Orta] and Angus [Kinnear] and everyone trying to find ways to improve our squad,” Marsch said of his owner, director of football and CEO.
“But they have done a great job and you can see we have a good team. I’m really, really happy with the progress we’re making. We have so much more to do but I like our team a lot.”
The club are certainly open to “last minute deals” but it looks like no more than a 50-50 chance of landing a forward.
It felt like a quaint way to communicate given the ferocity of the 24/7 transfer media but perhaps the most revealing message out of Elland Road this week was buried in page 11 of Leeds’ matchday programme.
CEO Angus Kinnear’s notes were a rebuttal of accusations Leeds are doing things “on the cheap”, emphasising a sizeable commitment to increasing their wage bill. He wrote “90 per cent” of their first choices have been secured.
“I know supporters are perplexed that, after demonstrating we have the means and will to make one record breaking offer for a striker [Charles De Ketelaere], we have not secured a player in that position,” he wrote.
“The rationale is straightforward: we believe we have three striking options that are better than the majority of our peers [two proven international number nines and a player widely regarded as the best emerging young striking talent in the league] and will only supplement this with an exceptional addition rather than a warm body.”
Culled from inews.co.uk