Leeds United remain keen on signing Hwang Hee-chan before the transfer window closes – but the Whites will not be spending top whack to convince Wolves to cash in on the striker.
The Yorkshire side have made a decent start to the new season, claiming seven points from their first four games. However, defeat to Brighton on Saturday was their first loss of the new campaign and saw them miss the chance to move second in the table. They do, though, have the chance to put things right with a home date against Everton at Goodison Park on Tuesday.
United, for large periods, were largely very toothless in the match at the Amex. Top scorer Rodrigo was unable to make much of an impact on the game and, with Patrick Bamford once again missing out, Leeds did not have much in the way of options off the bench.
Bamford has now missed their last three games since limping out of the action against Southampton in their second game. And having only managed to complete 560 minutes in the Premier League last season, there remains concerns over his ongoing availability and fitness.
As a result, Leeds are reportedly in the hunt to sign a new striker before the window closes. Whites boss Jesse Marsch revealed his intentions to sign a new forward late last week.
The player sseemingly at the top of Leeds’ wanted list is Wolves frontman Hwang.
He is a player well known to Marsch, having played under him at both Leipzig and RB Salzburg. And Hwang is reportedly keen on hooking up with the American coach for the third time in his career.
Leeds won’t break the bank for Hwang Hee-chan
Wolves are reportedly seeking as much as £25m for the sale of Hwang this week. However, while Marsch’s interest in the player has been confirmed by The Athletic’s Phil Hay, it seems Leeds will not pay over the odds for his signature.
United were willing to shatter their transfer record earlier this summer for Charles De Ketelaere. He ultimately signed for Milan, meaning Leeds missed out. As far as Hwang is concerned, however, Leeds will not spend for the sake of it and will only move if the price is right.
Assessing the interest in the Wolves striker and their hunt for a striker this summer, Hay admits Leeds will not pay over the odds.
“Gradually, links to other forwards have drifted to nothing. Arnaud Kalimuendo went from Paris Saint-Germain to Rennes and sources in France say the 20-year-old was never truly sold on a move to England anyway,” he wrote in his Athletic column on 29 August.
“Martin Terrier extended his contract at Rennes last week. Cody Gakpo was of interest but not only to Leeds and his valuation has climbed and climbed.
“Hwang Hee-chan, the Wolves forward, is someone Marsch has coached before and would work with again but not at any price.”
As such, TEAMtalk sources understand that Leeds could spend up to £20m to land Hwang if Wolves made him available.
Quiet end to window beckons for Leeds
As such, it seems Leeds are shaping up for something of a quiet end to the summer window.
Having made eight signings so far, the prospects of a ninth new arrival coming in appear to look limited.
The club will speak to Wolves to check on the availability of Hwang – but much will depend on Wolves needing the cash for strengthening elsewhere.
Their boss Bruno Lage has conceded that he wants to keep Hwang Hee-chan at Molineux and that he is a player he really admires.
The player though is something of a much-maligned figure among Wolves fans, with many questioning his qualities.
Indeed, Hwang had something of a stinker on Sunday with his mistake playing a part in Newcastle’s late equaliser against them.
The South Korean only completed a permanent £14m move to the club over the summer, having arrived the previous year on loan from RB Leipzig.
He has scored five goals in 36 appearances for the Black Country side – not the most prolific.
However, he is a player who thrived under Marsch’s coaching previously and that connection could prove key if Leeds can strike a deal with Wolves.