Leeds United are reportedly preparing to make an improved bid to sign Brenden Aaronson, having seen their opening offer rejected by RB Salzburg.
The Whites are targeting a deal for the USA international, 21, as they look to add more options in midfield. Marcelo Bielsa’s side have looked light in that department in recent times, especially in light of a hamstring injury for Kalvin Phillips.
Indeed, they have had to rely heavily on Adam Forshaw in recent months; the 30-year-old himself returning from two years of injury hell.
And their lack of options forced them to hand a Premier League debut to 19-year-old Lewis Bate in Sunday’s 3-2 win at West Ham.
As such, reports have speculated on which central midfielder they could go for amid this apparent shortlist.
The Medford, New Jersey, born star is a hard-running midfielder with something of an eye for goal. To that end, he compares to Conor Gallagher, who Leeds unsuccessfully tried to sign over the summer.
And with Aaronson now emerging as their No 1 target, Leeds saw an opening £15m offer rejected by RB Salzburg on Tuesday.
However, Leeds remain unperturbed and will persist with their efforts to sign the ‘Medford Messi’.
Indeed, as per the Daily Mail, Leeds director of football Victor Orta remains in talks with Salzburg over a potential deal.
The Austrian side reportedly value Aaronson at around the £30m mark, but know in the current climate that looks unrealistic. Instead a fee nearer the £20m mark is tipped to secure the deal.
Midfielder fancies Premier League transfer
In Leeds’ favour is the fact that Aaronson is understood to be looking to make the move to the Premier League. While Salzburg has given him a platform in the Champions League, a move to England would certainly raise his profile.
Indeed, he has always made clear his ambitions to play over Premier League football.
Leeds ready to try again for Brenden Aaronson
Bielsa's side saw opening bid worth £15m rejected by Salzburg
After joining Salzburg, Aaronson told Salzburg’s website that Steven Gerrard was the player he aspired to be like as a youngster.
He also said he joined the club as they play “fast, direct and attacking football”, which he loves.
When it came to describing his own game, Aaron said of himself: “I’m about a lot of creative work.
“I work hard, I’m aggressive, I like to pick holes in defences and provide assists.”
Salzburg would rather delay Brenden Aaronson transfer
Brenden Aaronson also has an admirer in USA great DaMarcus Beasley, who has described the midfield talent as “silky”.
Capable of playing as a No 10, in central midfield or on either wing if required, he moved to the Austrian giants for a fee of £4.5m over the summer.
Aaronson has three goals and seven assists from 22 appearances this season.
However, the one issue for Leeds is that Salzburg, while willing to sell, would prefer to wait until the summer.
The Austrians are top of Austrian Bundesliga by 14 points and the title looks all-but secure.
But with a round-of-16 Champions League clash looming against Bayern Munich, Salzburg would rather not lose him now.
The Austrian champions meet the Bundesliga champions on 16 February, with the return in Munich on March 8.