By Matthew Farr
Leeds have been dealt a major blow in their bid to sign striker Ashley Fletcher on loan in January, according to a report.
The Sun reports that West Ham are reluctant to let the 21-year-old leave the club unless they can sign a striker themselves.
It is said that Leeds are one of a number of Championship clubs interested in signing Fletcher in the January window.
Hammers boss Slaven Bilic is currently without both Andy Carroll and Diafra Sakho due to injury, while on loan Italy international Simone Zaza has been disappointing.
More first-team football would be beneficial for Fletcher, but until the Hammers solve their own attacking problems, the former Manchester United youngster will not be allowed to leave the club.
“We can’t even think about it until that time as we obviously don’t know what our injury situation is likely to be,” a West Ham source told the Sun.
“And of course, with the African Nations Cup, the earliest we would do anything would be January 31.”
Fletcher has made just nine appearances for The Hammers this season, mostly as a substitute, but has yet to find the back of the net in the Premier League.
Despite this, he has drawn substantial interest from clubs in the Championship.
Leeds had been eyeing Fletcher to strengthen their attacking options ahead of a promotion push. The club are currently sixth in the Championship, their highest position in the league since December 2013.
Chris Wood is the club’s current top goalscorer with 11 goals, but Elland Road boss Garry Monk is lacking in other options within the goalscoring department.
Monk had already tried to sign Fletcher this summer when his United contract expired, however lost out to West Ham. But he is willing to re-ignite his interest in the forward in January.
In other Leeds transfer news, Garry Monk has posted on Twitter his side’s latest training session.