Leeds eyeing £30m transfer raid for star to rival Patrick Bamford but need Fulham favour

Leeds United will look to steal Ollie Watkins away from Brentford if Fulham beat the Bees in the Championship play-off final on Tuesday night. The Cottagers are looking to immediately return to the Premier League while their London rivals have not played in the top flight since 1947.

And whoever is victorious at Wembley will join Leeds, who won the Championship title and will play in the Premier League for the first time since 2004, in taking on the likes of Liverpool, Manchester City and Manchester United.

Marcelo Bielsa’s men only managed three less goals than the free-scoring Brentford but while the Bees’ goals have been spread across the 55-goal trio of Watkins, Said Benrahma and Bryan Mbeumo, Leeds only had one player in double digits.

That was first-choice frontman Patrick Bamford, who managed 16 strikes in the second division but was also guilty of wasting goalscoring opportunities throughout the campaign.

Sky Sports have suggested that Leeds will keep the faith with the ex-Chelsea and Middlesbrough man Bamford despite his lack of goals in his previous stint in the Premier League.

But as Marcelo Bielsa looks to strengthen his side, the Sunday People say he could look to add Watkins – who has been crucial to Brentford’s promotion push this term.

The former Exeter attacker’s 26-goal return in the Championship has only been matched by Fulham’s Aleksandr Mitrovic.

And as well as his goalscoring contributions, the 24-year-old has also reportedly impressed Bielsa with his movement and versatility, while he is capable of providing the kind of link-up play the manager likes from Bamford.

Watkins can play out wide in a 4-1-4-1 or 4-2-3-1, with the Argentine having primarily played Helder Costa and Jack Harrison out wide this term.

But Watkins’ prolific campaign this term has come while playing as a centre forward for Thomas Frank’s team.

And it is surely there where Bielsa would deploy him, having starred in that role at Griffin Park, if the opportunity to sign him arises.

The Sunday People say that if Brentford win the play-off final then Bielsa is aware his chances of taking Watkins to Elland Road are extremely slim.

The Leeds manager will however look to pounce if Fulham are victorious and it is said that his valuation will be around £20million to £30m.

Any deal could make him the Whites’ record signing, and a £30m sale would see Brentford make well over 10 times profit on the £1.8m they paid for him in 2017.

Leeds are meanwhile looking to get out of a deal to sign Jean-Kevin Augustin from RB Leipzig, with the Frenchman’s loan stint having seen him disappoint in Yorkshire.

The 23-year-old made just three appearances since his temporary switch to London but Leeds agreed as part of the deal to sign him for £18m in the summer.

They are now eager to get out of the agreement having refused to extend Augustin’s loan due to fitness problems and also, according to the Sunday People, concerns over his attitude.

But Bundesliga side Leipzig have threatened legal proceedings if Leeds refuse to sign Augustin, who only played 49 minutes for the club.

The Athletic say that a centre-back and a left-back are also on the agenda, while Leeds are also linked with goalkeepers with Kiko Casilla potentially set to leave.

So far this summer, Leeds have made Costa’s move from Wolves permanent for £16m, extended Harrison’s loan from City for an extra 12 months and signed keeper Illian Meslier permanently for £5m.

Arsenal’s Emiliano Martinez and Manchester United back-up Sergio Romero are seen as options in goal if Casilla departs.

Brentford’s Benrahma is also admired by Leeds and could be available for less than £20m if Fulham are victorious in the play-off final, say The Athletic.

Source: Read Full Article