Three Premier League sides have joined a host of European clubs in chasing a Leeds Utd star whose path to first-team minutes has been blocked by a summer recruit, and TEAMtalk has learned a contract extension is now out of the equation.
Leeds boss Jesse Marsch utilised his past connections with the Red Bull Group last summer. The Whites signed Rasmus Kristensen and Brenden Aaronson from Salzburg, while Tyler Adams arrived from Leipzig.
Aaronson and Adams have fitted in seamlessly, while Kristensen too has established himself as first-choice in his position. However, the Dane’s performances have been suspect at times and the right side of Leeds’ defence remains an issue.
Kristensen is known as an attack-first full-back and is regularly caught out of position up-field. While not solely his fault, Leeds went into the World Cup break with the joint-fourth worst defensive record in the Premier League.
Only Bournemouth (32), Nottingham Forest (30) and Southampton (27) have shipped more goals than Leeds (26). Forest and the Saints are both in the relegation zone.
Marsch also has club stalwart Luke Ayling to call upon. Stuart Dallas will provide further cover for the position upon returning from a long injury lay-off.
As such, one of the club’s brightest talents, Cody Drameh, has barely got a look-in.
The 20-year-old was signed from Fulham in 2020 and has earned caps for England at U18, U20 and U21 levels.
However, his club career has stalled and the arrival of Marsch favourite Kristensen has placed an insurmountable obstacle in his path.
Drameh has just two senior appearances to his name across all competitions this season. With a contract expiring in 2024, his career at Elland Road is coming to a head.
Drameh the next Trippier?
The Daily Mail reported Newcastle were mulling a January move as they seek a long-term replacement for Kieran Trippier.
Fabrizio Romano later put Borussia Dortmund, Bayer Leverkusen and French side Lille in the mix. However, TEAMtalk’s transfer insider, Graeme Bailey, has told us the interest runs far deeper than that.
Firstly Bailey confirmed Leeds had attempted to tie Drameh down to fresh terms, though those efforts did not bear fruit. As such, a new deal is now deemed unlikely and a January exit is quickly coming into focus.
On where Drameh might end up, we understand Newcastle have now been joined by two further EPL clubs, as well as two in the Championship and another from the Bundesliga.
Leeds Utd to lose most in-demand star?
“Leeds have been in talks with Drameh about a new contract but they have not been able to agree terms and now that is off the table, and both seem to be accepting that a new deal is unlikely,” Bailey exclusively told TEAMtalk.
“Leeds ideally would like Drameh to be challenging Rasmus Kristensen over the next 12 months, with Luke Ayling looking likely to leave in the summer.
“Drameh has just over 18 months left on his deal, and he knows of the interest in him which is widespread. There are clubs all over who seen Drameh as an option.
“Newcastle, West Ham and Crystal Palace see him as one for the future, whilst there are the likes of Middlesbrough and Norwich in the Championship who I am told also like him.
“However, the 20-year-old does have options abroad – I am told that the options are plentiful and not just Borussia Dortmund and RB Leipzig but from clubs in France and Italy too.”
Of course, Leeds could attempt to placate Drameh by sanctioning a six-month loan.
However, the Kristensen issue is unlikely to resolve itself while Marsch is at the helm and a permanent exit now looks likely, especially with no contract extension on the horizon.