Leeds United

Leeds United

Premier League • England

Leeds ‘battling River Plate’ for €12m forward after blistering campaign in MLS

Valentin Castellanos of New York City FC

Leeds United are reportedly in a transfer battle with River Plate to sign MLS attacker Valentin Castellanos this summer.

He is a 23-year-old centre-forward currently playing for New York City FC, one of Manchester City’s affiliate clubs. The Argentina U23 international has never actually played in his home country. He came through the ranks in Chile, before moving to Uruguay and then on to MLS.

Castellanos had an exceptional campaign in 2020-21, bagging 23 goals in 36 matches. Add eight assists to that tally, and it’s clear to see why a Premier League move could be in store for the player.

Castellanos has previously been on Everton’s radar, but reports now suggest Leeds could win the race for his signature.

Sport Witness provide all the details, while citing reports in Argentina. They claim the Whites are ‘expressing interest’ in Castellanos as they look to improve Marcelo Bielsa’s attacking options.

Leeds officials have reportedly been in contact with the forward’s agent over a potential switch to Elland Road. They are willing to part with $14million (€12.3m/£10.3m) to land him in the summer.

But Bielsa and Leeds could be left frustrated as River Plate are aiming to tie down Castellanos immediately.

River Plate have Valentin Castellanos advantage

The Argentine transfer window is open for another week, giving River Plate an immediate advantage over Leeds.

They have already begun negotiations with New York City FC and are now trying to strike a $12m (£8.8m) deal. While this does not match Leeds’ potential offer, River Plate are buoyed by Castellanos’ ambitions.

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The report claims he ‘wants to make the leap to Argentina’, after failing to play there so far in his career.

Featuring in his home country’s top flight is seemingly a priority ahead of the Premier League. That could force Leeds to pursue alternative attacking targets once the transfer window gets going again.

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Cody Drameh in latest admission

Meanwhile, Leeds right-back Cody Drameh has attempted to rebuild some bridges with Bielsa after his surprise loan exit in January.

The youngster had been gaining experience in the first team but then revealed his desire to leave on a temporary basis. As such, he made the switch to Championship outfit Cardiff City.

Following the move, Bielsa seemingly aimed a dig at Drameh for wanting to leave.

But the defender has now spoken highly of his parent club’s manager to improve their public relationship somewhat.

“Some of the stuff you see on the pitch from me is definitely from Marcelo Bielsa and his coaching staff,” Drameh said.

“Their feedback was for me to be more aggressive and play on the front foot and I think the manager here has brought the best out of me since I’ve been here. His desire to get me in was the main reason that I came here.

“As a player, you always want to feel wanted and it seemed like the perfect place for me to come and play. The emphasis has been on being positive and wanting to attack and he’s filled me with a lot of confidence to go and express myself.”

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