Leeds United are prepared to up their offer for RB Salzburg’s Brenden Aaronson, but the midfielder has doubts about making the move this month, per a report.
The American international, 21, has quickly emerged as Leeds’ No1 target this month. Aaronson plays primarily in central midfield for Austrian side RB Salzburg, though has also featured further out wide. He is known for his all-action displays and has drawn comparisons with impressive Crystal Palace loanee, Conor Gallagher.
Leeds are in desperate need of midfield reinforcements after both Kalvin Phillips and Adam Forshaw suffered hamstring injuries.
Aaronson was identified as someone who could mesh well with Marcelo Bielsa’s unique demands. As such, Leeds duly lodged an offer worth £15m earlier this week.
That was rejected by Salzburg, who reportedly do not wish to sell any players before their Champions League Round of 16 clashes with Bayern Munich in February and March.
However, Leeds are determined to force the issue, and the Athletic reports they are prepared to raise their bid to £20m.
Victor Orta, Marcelo Bielsa both involved
Leeds chief Victor Orta was despatched to Austria earlier this week. The Whites are striving to secure what is looking an increasingly important deal. The Athletic state Bielsa could also have a role to play – though a rather more indirect one.
Aaronson is reportedly on board with moving to England to play under enigmatic coach Bielsa. In the Athletic’s words, he ‘feels that moving to Leeds to play under Bielsa would be a significant step up for his career.’
However, he is also fully aware of Salzburg’s desire to keep their squad in tact ahead of their Champions League ties. As such, he does not want to leave Salzburg in a ‘difficult position’.
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
That could ultimately mean Leeds’ raised bid could also be rejected. A summer move would then move into focus.
Alternatively, Salzburg could deem £20m too good to turn down. Their business model relies on player churn and recouping significant profits from player sales.
As such, all eyes will be on Salzburg’s response, if and when Leeds lodge their second bid.
Brenden Aaronson chase unaffected by Leeds dispute
Meanwhile, with an Aaronson move quickly becoming a critical one for Marcelo Bielsa, a Leeds Live report allayed fears the club’s ongoing wrangle with Jean-Kevin Augustin won’t affect proceedings.
Salzburg’s sister club, RB Leipzig, are currently embroiled in a dispute with Leeds over the French forward.
The issue stems from Augustin’s ill-fated loan spell at Elland Road in the season they won promotion back to the Premier League. An obligation to buy was reportedly in the deal if Leeds won promotion.
However, the Whites did not sign the player permanently, leading Leipzig to take the case to FIFA.
Leeds could be on the hook for £18m if the case goes against them. Leeds Live stating it will go before the Court of Arbitration for Sport in March.
However, despite the dispute with another club in the Red Bull stable, the article states Leeds are ‘confident’ it will not affect their dealings with Salzburg over Aaronson.