Leeds United

Leeds United

Championship

Champions League heavyweights ‘confident’ of signing Leeds star Gruev as Farke fights to land Sheffield Utd striker

Daniel Farke hopes to keep midfielder Ilia Gruev and sign Sheffield United striker Daniel Jebbison

Daniel Farke hopes to keep midfielder Ilia Gruev and sign Sheffield United striker Daniel Jebbison

Leeds United have been warned that a “transfer is possible” for Ilia Gruev this summer with Champions League heavyweights Borussia Dortmund, as well as some Premier League clubs all keen on the Bulgarian – while Daniel Farke’s planned move for a Sheffield United striker has been called into question.

The Whites are facing up to another season of Championship football after narrowly missing out on promotion not once, but twice over. Having become the first side to collect 90 points in the second tier and not go up since Sunderland way back in 1998, Leeds United then suffered play-off final heartache after seeing Southampton record a narrow 1-0 win over them at Wembley 10 days ago.

Farke gave an insight into what he described as a broken dressing room in the immediate aftermath of the defeat, which saw Leeds equal the record of four play-off final appearances without securing promotion, though the German gave a slight note of optimism that the club would look to bounce back next time around.

That message has since been echoed by rarely heard from chairman Paraag Marathe, who insists that while some players may likely need to be sold, the club still had a financial plan in place to ensure they would not only stabilise, but would be well placed to make another push for promotion again.

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In the days that have followed, Leeds have since announced a significant investment into the club from Red Bull, who will become the club’s main shirt sponsors and is reportedly worth some £60m over five seasons – the largest deal of its type by some distance for a club outside the Premier League.

Dortmund keen to bring Gruev back to Germany

Nonetheless, Leeds do face a battle to retain their star names and both Archie Gray and Crysencio Summerville are expected to attract plenty of attention from Premier League sides.

Gray has been linked with Tottenham in recent days – potentially in a cash plus player swap move involving Oliver Skipp – while Summerville is being tracked by a plethora of sides ranging from Liverpool, Chelsea, Newcastle and Bayer Leverkusen.

However, the first high-profile star out of the exit door could come in the surprise form of Gruev.

The Bulgaria international moved to Leeds last summer in a little-heralded £5m move from Werder Bremen.

While he took time to find his feet – a dismal display off the bench as Leeds lost at Stoke in October doing little for his confidence – he soon became a permanent fixture in the side, putting in some brilliant displays at the base of midfield that coupled with Farke’s side piecing together a sublime run of form that saw them clock up 12 wins in 14 games.

However, it seems his displays have drawn attention from elsewhere and journalist Patrick Berger reports that several clubs are keen on raiding the Whites for a player now rated in the £10m to £15m mark.

With Champions League finalists Borussia Dortmund are the front of the bidding, there is also interest from unnamed sides in the Premier League, with Berger even claiming Leeds rejected an offer from the top flight prior to the clash against Southampton at Wembley.

In Berger’s words, a “transfer is possible” this summer to take the 16-times capped Bulgaria midfielder away from Elland Road.

TEAMtalk has not heard anything about any firm interest from the Premier League for Gruev, although appreciation of him from the Bundesliga does not come as a surprise given he has played there before. And if a sizeable offer comes in, he could be a player the Whites sacrifice if he aids their chances of retaining Gray’s services instead.

Leeds transfers: Farke warned over Daniel Jebbison swoop

The Whites, meanwhile, are among a host of sides chasing a deal for Sheffield United striker Daniel Jebbison, who looks set to leave Bramall Lane this summer.

The 20-year-old made history as the Blades’ youngest ever player to score in their first start in the Premier League back in 2021 at Everton.

Sadly, Jebbison’s career has not quite taken off as initially expected, though there are a string of admirers all well aware of his potential. And with his deal expiring on June 30, the likes of Brighton, Everton, Leicester and Leeds are among those keen on a swoop.

Any free-transfer swoop would be subject to paying the Blades a compensation fee, given he is under 23, though that would only be for a fraction of his market value.

Leeds’ interest is being pushed by technical director Gretar Steinsson, who is a big admirer of his talents.

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However, former Leeds midfielder Carlton Palmer suggests Jebbison may not be the type of No 9 Leeds need right now.

“They do need to strengthen the centre-forward position. [Joel] Piroe has not hit the ground running, although that’s not to say he won’t improve next season, as he arrived with a good pedigree but it just hasn’t happened for him at Leeds,” Palmer told FLW.

“He looked short of legs against Southampton, and, for me, they need some pace up front. They’ve got it out wide in Gnonto and Summerville, but we don’t know who’s going to stay.

“With Jebbison, I don’t think this solves the problem straight away. They’d have to pay compensation but this would be a low-risk move, and he has a big, big future ahead of him in the game.”

Do Leeds need another young striker?

Palmer continued: “You would take him, but he’s another young player who needs to play football, so would the likes of Joe Gelhardt and Mateo Joseph’s struggles for game time put him off? I don’t think it would, but the problem for Leeds is there is a lot of interest in the player from Premier League clubs such as Brighton, Ipswich and Leicester.

“But, he needs to play, he needs to play games, he needs to get going, and he needs to score goals.

“Leeds have a very young team, and they were a little bit inexperienced this year, but he’s one for the future. Ultimately, though, he needs games. Whether it’s at Leeds, or they sign him and loan him elsewhere, he’s got to be playing.

“Leeds will have to sort out what they’re doing with the likes of Patrick Bamford, who they missed late on and it cost them.

“Jebbison would be a good signing if they could get him for the future of the football club.”