Leeds United are reportedly out of the running to sign Brenden Aaronson after Red Bull Salzburg rejected their second bid and amid claims the Whites cannot afford to raise their offer again.
The Whites have zoned in on their midfield as a vital area to add to in the January transfer window. While Daniel James and Junior Firpo bolstered attack and defence in the summer, midfield is an area of concern.
As such, Leeds head coach Bielsa has identified RB Salzburg star Aaronson as a key target.
United saw their opening £15million bid for the USA international swiftly rejected. That was soon followed by an increased offer of £20m, with Salzburg once again standing firm.
And despite director of football Victor Orta being in Austria for negotiations, it seems Salzburg have little desire to sell this month.
Indeed, they are currently preparing for a Champions League round-of-16 tie with Bayern Munich. And weakening their squad this month appears the last thing on their mind. As a result, The Athletic’s Phil Hay has indicated Leeds are facing disappointment.
He stated: “Sounded likely to me that Salzburg would turn the second bid down too. Haven’t been told that it’s been formally rejected but as we stand, it hasn’t been accepted.”
He also added: “If they can get Aaronson in this window then they will take him regardless.
“But even prior to this game, they’ve been clear about the fact that they’ll go for him again in the summer if they can’t get him now. I don’t feel like it’s results dependent.”
And amid claims that their second bid of £20m has fallen short, Daily Express journalist Ryan Taylor claims Leeds could try one final time and offer £22million.
Brenden Aaronson offer unlikely to be raised
However, those claims have been silenced by transfer expert Dean Jones. Speaking to Give Me Sport, he reports Leeds don’t have the financial muscle to finance a bigger deal for the midfielder.
RB Salzburg reject Leeds bid for Brenden Aaronson
Leeds United have had a bid for Brenden Aaronson rejected by RB Salzburg but will bid again for American international
“Leeds are definitely struggling with this Brenden Aaronson deal as I understand it for this window. They don’t have fortunes to throw around at the moment,” Jones stated.
It wouldn’t be the first time Leeds have walked away from a deal that doesn’t suit them. The club run a tight ship and don’t yet have the financial impact of some of their rivals.
Angus Kinnear dampens Leeds transfer prospects
Leeds chief executive Angus Kinnear also moved to down play their chances of getting the deal, or any others, over the line.
Kinnear also says making signings now would block the paths of younger players. Indeed, the likes of Joe Gelhardt, Lewis Bate and Leo Hjelde have all impressed for Leeds when called upon this season.
He understands some fans may not agree with this strategy, but feels it is important to explain the club’s thinking.
Writing in his programme notes for the Newcastle game, Kinnear said: “In blooding Lewis Bate and Leo Hjelde, Marcelo broke a divisional record by having handed eight teenagers their debuts in a single season.
“While this has led to some factions understandably bemoaning a perceived lack of strength in depth in our squad, it promises an extremely bright future for our great club.
“This strategy clearly impacts on our evaluation of transfer targets. Our analysis indicates that many January options require an eight-figure investment. And these would not be a material improvement on the current performances of emerging players such as Bate, Hjelde and Joe Gelhardt.
“Moreover, signing other options would block such youngsters’ development. And they would offer nowhere near the same long-term potential.
“Simultaneously any January activity has an opportunity cost on more optimal moves in the summer window.
“As a board, we have always tried to be transparent with supporters in the belief that it is better if our recruitment strategy is disagreed with by some fans rather than misunderstood by many.”