Everton launch ‘hijack’ attempt for Leeds target with €30m agreement in place

Everton have launched a last-ditch bid to muscle in on a deal for a frequent Leeds target after a €30m agreement was reportedly struck.

Leeds and Everton played out a hotly-contested 2-2 draw at the weekend after the Whites twice came back from behind to snatch a point. Off the pitch, the pair have been connected through their shared admiration for Brazilian attacker, Matheus Cunha.

The Hertha Berlin striker, 22, has been listed as a regular target for Leeds throughout the summer.

He caught the eye in 2020/21 with his standout performances in the Bundesliga. He scored eight goals and assisted eight more during a fine season for the capital club before earning Olympic gold at Tokyo 2020.

A report in mid-August revealed the lure of playing alongside fellow countryman Raphinha at Elland Road could be tempting to Cunha.

Varying reports have stated his fee ranges from anything between €25m – €35m, though Leeds ultimately kept their powder dry.

Instead, Spanish powerhouse Atletico Madrid assumed pole position and per Sport Witness, they have struck an ‘agreement in principle’ worth ‘€30m plus bonuses’ with Hertha.

Matheu Cunha Hertha tracksuit

Citing Sky Germany’s Max Bielefeld, Hertha have accepted the proposal, though the deal is not ‘officially signed’.

With time fast running out to snap up a thrilling young attacker, Everton reportedly made their move.

It’s claimed the Toffees ‘tried to hijack’ the deal in the ‘last hours.’ Their chances of pulling off the last-ditch coup appear slim, however. Cunha is reported to prefer a move to Spain.

One in, one out at Leeds

Meanwhile, Leeds United are expected to conclude the signing of Celtic defender Leo Hjelde before the August 31 transfer deadline.

The centre-back, who will turn 18 this week, is out of contract at Celtic Park next summer. And the Bhoys’ attempts to secure him to a new deal have ultimately failed. As per Football Insider, Celtic have been resigned to losing Hjelde for some time.

The Atheltic’s Phil Hay has now claimed: Leeds will get Leo Hjelde from Celtic done before the deadline.”

Meanwhile, Ian Poveda is set to leave the club on loan with Blackburn his likely destination. The Leeds squad were informed he was not part of the group to travel to Old Trafford earlier this month.

Furthermore, he was also overlooked for Mark Jackson’s Under-23s. They recorded a 3-1 win at Crystal Palace in Premier League 2 last Monday

There is no suggestion from club or manager that Poveda is injured. As such, Football Insider reported he was now set to leave the club.

READ MORE: Benitez cites key stat behind Leeds draw to give Everton fans perspective