Heaton option emerges as Leeds call Newcastle bluff over Darlow

Leeds United have told Newcastle they are ready to end efforts to sign goalkeeper Karl Darlow after being unable to reach an agreement with the Premier League side.

Marcelo Bielsa’s side currently sit top of the Championship, despite two successive league defeats, and are looking to boost their goalkeeper options in January having lost Jamal Blackman to a broken leg.

Leeds had identified Darlow as the experienced keeper they wanted to provide cover for Bailey Peacock-Farrell, with the former England U21 man making 170 appearances for Newcastle and former club Nottingham Forest.

However, the Daily Mirror reports Leeds are unwilling to meet Newcastle’s £4million asking price for Darlow and have told the Magpies they are only interested in a loan deal for the stopper.

But Rafa Benitez is refusing to budge on his wish to sell a man who has slipped to third choice, as he was hoping to use the funds to boost his January transfer budget.

As such, Newcastle’s refusal to entertain a loan has prompted Leeds to tell Newcastle they are no longer interested and are ready to turn their attentions elsewhere.

Burnley’s Tom Heaton could yet emerge as an option, especially given a report in the Daily Mail on Tuesday suggested Championship rivals Nottingham Forest were also pondering a move.

Part of the problem for Leeds is they want to use their January budget to bring in an attacking replacement for the departed Samuel Saiz, who has returned to LaLiga with Getafe.

The Whites are keen on Hoffenheim winger Steven Zuber but the Bundesliga outfit’s £10.8million asking price is way out of Leeds’ reach.

Leeds are, however, prepared to play a waiting game to see if Hoffenheim reduce their asking price or even let him leave on loan.

Zuber has been capped 20 times by Switzerland and scored in the World Cup group game against Brazil last summer.


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