Leeds United’s hopes of signing Edinson Cavani appear to be over after the striker closed in on a move elsewhere.
The Elland Road outfit sealed their promotion back to the top-flight last weekend after 16 years away. And chairman Andrea Radrizzani seems determined to make a massive statement signing to mark their return.
After missing out on Zlatan Ibrahimovic, the ambitious Leeds chief instead outlined his hopes of bringing Cavani to West Yorkshire.
The Uruguay international has the status of ‘free’ player on the market. That means he can demand more in wages and a signing-on fee, having come to the end of his PSG contract.
“In addition to his quality, Cavani could contribute with his physicality and adapt here,” Radrizzani said. “But I’ve never talked about him with the coach [Marcelo Bielsa].
“Having said that, we’ve certainly thought about him and we’ll see. Given he’s still available on a free transfer.”
But the transfer now looks a no-go according to website Todo Fichajes.
They claim Cavani has now accepted an offer to join Portuguese side Benfica this summer. They claim the Portuguese side has agreed a package with the 33-year-old striker worth around £200,000 a week.
Benfica, who are currently second and could also offer Champions League football, have offered him a two-year deal. As per Fijaches, the transfer could be made official as soon as Wednesday.
Cavani’s half-brother and agent Walter Guglielmone is said to have negotiated the terms with the Lisbon side.
Uruguayan journalist Sebas Giovanelli described the first meeting as ending very positively. A second round of talks was held this weekend and it now seems an agreement is close.
The signing of Cavani has also been rubberstamped by Benfica president Luis Filipe Vieira, who was present at the latest round of talks.
Leeds could perhaps have stretched to meet his salary demands given their promotion. However, it may have caused some disruption in their camp, with their current top earner, Kalvin Phillips, reported to be on £35,000 a week.
Leeds in for Jonathan David
A more realistic target for Leeds is Gent frontman Jonathan David.
The Canada international scored an impressive 23 goals in all competitions for Gent this season.
He has previously been linked with Manchester United and Arsenal, who held initial talks with his agent Nick Mavromaras.
Lille have already seen a €25m offer rejected this summer; now Gent’s chairman has claimed Leeds have also expressed an interest.
The 20-year-old is rated in the €30m bracket by his club and it remains to be seen if Leeds will meet the Belgian’s asking price.
Bielsa currently has Patrick Bamford to call on as his first-choice striker. But the former Chelsea man is largely unproven at Premier League level, so reinforcements are expected.