Prem trio in driving seat as Welbeck is dubiously linked with Leeds

Leeds have been linked with a highly-unlikely move for free agent forward Danny Welbeck – but the former Arsenal star’s priority is to remain in the Premier League.

Welbeck – who played his last game for Arsenal against Sporting Lisbon in November after picking up a serious injury  – has run his contract down at Emirates Stadium and became a free agent from Monday.

Despite his lengthy injury record, several Premier League sides remain interested in the England international, who has returned to full training and is said to be over the broken ankle injury which ended his season early and required two operations to fix.

But Welbeck – who has been capped 42 times by England scoring 16 times – has this week been mentioned as a target for Leeds, with some unfounded reports suggesting he is poised to join Marcelo Bielsa’s side on a free transfer. Sky Bet even installed Leeds as 5/2 second favourites to land the forward after Leeds fanzine The Square Ball jokingly suggested he could be targeted.

And while Leeds are known to keep their transfer dealings close to their chest, the Championship promotion hopefuls are not in the running for Welbeck, nor could afford to sign him given reports the player is seeking a deal for around £100,000 a week given he’ll not require a transfer fee. The still represents a drop of the £120,000 a week he was earning at Emirates Stadium.

More from Planet Sport: Meet the Wimbledon mixed-doubles dream teams, including Andy Murray and Serena Williams.

Everton were also mentioned as suitors for the player earlier this summer, but reports this week suggests their interest has cooled, leaving Crystal Palace, West Ham and Southampton as frontrunners to snap up the free agent.

And while the 28-year-old may need to lower his expectations, the Premier League trio are far more likely suitors for the player.

The link to Welbeck is the latest in a number of bizarre transfer links for Leeds this summer and perhaps befitting of some of the crazy suggestions you see at this time of the year. Leeds were also ridiculously tipped up in Italy as potential suitors for goalkeeping legend Gianluigi Buffon earlier this summer. The 41-year-old is on the brink of re-signing for former club Juventus after a season with PSG.

The Whites, however, have signed Jack Harrison, Ben White and Liam McCarron earlier this week, while their biggest coup arrived on Wednesday with the capture of Helder Costa from Wolves on an initial one-year loan deal.


Get the latest personalised Whites products on our new TEAMtalk Leeds United shop!