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Plenty of names in the frame after Leeds miss out on Adams
Thursday, 16th Jan 2020 22:11 by Tim Whelan

Southampton have now officially announced that Che Adams won’t be leaving them to come to Leeds. There is plenty of speculation in the media as to which forward we’ll chase after next, but unfortunately there is no confirmation we’ve actually approached any of the clubs concerned.

The Saints are now claiming that the striker is happy on the south coast, which directly contradicts earlier reports that he wanted to come to Leeds. But the main reason for the club’s change of heart over the 23 year-old was the intervention of their manager Ralph Hasenhuttl. Although Adams hasn’t been a regular this season, the Austrian sees him as a key squad member as a backup for his first choice strikers.

Hasenhuttl told Sky Sports News "I wouldn't consider loaning him out. I need every player especially in an attacking position as we don't have many." Southampton are by not yet safe from relegation despite their recovery from their 9-0 humiliation by Leicester, so need to maintain as strong a squad as they can.

And the proposed £1m loan fee and £10m transfer fee in the summer would amount to a loss for Southampton, as they paid Birmingham £15m for Adams at the start of the current season. Adams seemed to be an ideal player for the lone striker role Bielsa prefers, but Leeds had to set a deadline for the completion of the proposed deal, to leave ourselves time to find an alternative if it fell through.

We didn’t want a repeat of the Daniel James situation in the transfer window 12 months ago, when it fell apart in the final hour. So now that we know that Adams isn’t coming to Elland Road, who else is Victor Orta going to pursue to land the second striker that the squad so desperately needs? First up is Matej Vydra, though he won’t be that much of a popular choice after he turned down the chance to join us 18 months ago.

The former Derby man opted to try his luck in the Premier League rather than remain in the Championship, but now seems to be regretting that decision. He has told Burnley that he wants to leave in January, in search of first-team football, not least because he wants to try and get himself back in the Czech Republic squad before Euro 2020.

In total, he’s made 25 appearances for Burnley and scored two goals, but has yet to make a start for them in the Premier League this season, and has only got off the bench six times. But he’s still potentially useful in our division, and could operate as the main striker or just behind Bamford. So if all else fails, we might have to swallow our pride and take a second opportunity to bring him to Leeds.

Meanwhile, the ever-reliable Sun are claiming we’re going to try to take Jarrod Bowen on loan from Hull City, for a fee as high as £3 million just for the remainder of the season. Another £15 million would follow if we were promoted, even though Bowen is out of contract during the summer. Wouldn’t the potential extra fee give Hull an incentive to take it easy when we meet on February 29th?

Bowen is primarily a winger, and I think we’ve got enough options in the wide positions already, so an out and out striker is the priority. That said, Bowen has scored 16 goals already this season, so obviously would have a lot to contribute in that department. Meanwhile, Watford striker Andre Gray is “on the radar” according to London’s Evening Standard, but Nottingham Forest are also interested.

And Dwight Gale is another name that keeps cropping up, but Newcastle are said to want any loaning club to pay his full £50k a week salary, which surely will be beyond our budget, given the need to comply with FFP. But it’s probably out of question for all the other Championship clubs as well, so perhaps the Geordies might be prepared to compromise is they want to trim their wage bill a little before the window slams shut.

One final option would be to give Ryan Edmonson a go, given his prolific form for the various age group teams in the last few years, though I’ve heard it said that Bielsa hasn’t been that happy with his level of fitness this season. But I’m still surprised that he hasn’t even been on the bench since Eddie Nketiah went back to Arsenal, given our current shortage of fire power.

To try to balance the books a little, we are doing our best to get rid of those squad players who aren’t part of Bielsa’s plans. The official site had two brief statements today that Conor Shaughnessy and Laurens De Bock are heading out on loan for the rest of the season, to Burton Albion and Den Haag, respectively.

We’ve finally sold Lewie Coyle to Fleetwood, after his endless loan spells at the Lancashire club, where he has become a popular figure. At one time he seemed to have a bright future at Leeds, but suffered a significant injury in a League Cup tie against Norwich, and on his return he never looked likely to displace Ayling or Berardi from the right back slot.

Finally, Football Insider have report we are looking to sell Eunan O’Kane this transfer window, but will loan him out if there aren’t any takers. They claim that Marcelo Bielsa has made it clear behind the scenes that he doesn’t rate the 29-year-old midfielder, having seen him in all the videos of our games in the 2017/18 season.

Since then O’Kane has had to battle back from a serious injury, and seems to have little chance of battling back into the first team. It has been reported that clubs from League One and League Two are interested, and that might be about his level. The Republic of Ireland international has been with us since the summer of 2016, having arrived from Bournemouth as part of the deal that took Lewis Cook the other way.

There are likely to be plenty more twists and turns before the transfer window has run it’s course, but we need to get it right this time and end up with a squad that is going to get promotion done.

Reuters Express



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