Why Radrizzani must break the bank to re-sign this darling of the Leeds fans
COMMENT By Matt Farr
Leeds fans had their first January transfer window wish granted with the acquisition of Pablo Hernandez on a permanent deal on Monday.
Their next wish is for star defender Pontus Jansson to follow suit, having impressed whilst on loan from Italian side Torino.
However, keen to see their side maintain their current course in a bid for promotion back to the Premier League for the first time since 2004, fans have also urged the club to splash the cash on one player in particular.
Fans took to social media at the start of the week to urge boss Garry Monk to look into a potential deal for former Leeds favourite Max Gradel, after the Sun revealed he was prepared to hand in a transfer request.
Gradel is currently on international duty with the Ivory Coast at the Africa Cup of Nations, but is expected to push through a move when he returns to Bournemouth.
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First-team opportunities have been at a premium for Gradel at the Vitality Stadium this season, and Leeds must do everything in their power to bring him to Elland Road this month.
Despite signing a new four-year-deal in the summer, he has yet to start a Premier League game this season. That could work in Leeds’ favour, as they are looking to add further quality and a cutting edge to their attack.
The main underlying issue though, is the player’s current wages. Gradel is said to be earning £40,000 per week at Bournemouth, while any potential transfer fee would see Eddie Howe’s side try to recoup as much of the £7 million transfer fee they paid for him in August 2015.
That might prove to be a stumbling block in any potential deal between the two clubs, but it should not knock Leeds off their stride.
The 49-time capped international is believed to want a short-term move as opposed to a permanent deal, and Garry Monk should be knocking repeatedly on the door of new co-owner Andrea Radrizzani to sanction the deal.
The former Swansea boss desires the quality to reinforce their promotion push, and Gradel oozes with talent. His dribbling ability, crossing and desire to run at defenders would be a priceless asset in Monk’s Leeds arsenal.
The 29-year-old has had a fine history in the Championship, scoring goals consistently, as well as earning promotion with both Leicester and Leeds, which bodes well in line with the club’s current ambitions.
He is adored by the Elland Road faithful after his spell with the club between 2009 and 2012, where he scored 25 goals from 85 appearances, and would no doubt become an instant hit if he were to return to his former home.
The majority of fans have fond memories of the 2010-11 season when Gradel netted 18 goals as Leeds narrowly missed out on the Championship play-offs, but with the club currently fifth in the league, there is hope that they can go one better this season.
The winger can be the defining factor in whether or not Leeds can seal their place back in the top-flight for next season. The adoring fans already want a reunion to happen, and now it is up to Monk and Radrizzani to make their dream a reality.
In other Leeds transfer news, the end is nigh for these two senior players at Elland Road.