How reported £15m PL deal could help Leeds land Monk priority January signing
By Harry Sykes
West Ham’s concerted pursuit of Jermain Defoe could start a domino effect that ends up with Leeds landing their priority January striker target Ashley Fletcher.
The Yorkshire giants have been strongly linked with signing Fletcher this month, with the Sun claiming they have already opened talks with West Ham about a deal after manager Garry Monk said he is “definitely in the market for a new striker in the winter window.
Leeds could be aided in their pursuit of the 21-year-old by West Ham’s determination to land goal machine Defoe.
The Hammers have already tabled two bids for the former England international that have been emphatically rejected by his club Sunderland.
But Sky Sports news reporter Kaveh Solkehol claimed on his personal Twitter account on Wednesday that West Ham are ready to pull out all the stops to land the 34-year-old this month and refurbish an attack that has failed to fire this season.
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The experienced correspondent reported that the Londoners are so keen to sign Defoe they have “told Sunderland to name their price” and “will pay what it takes to get [the] deal done”.
West Ham determined to sign Jermain Defoe. Will pay what it takes to get deal done. Have told Sunderland to name their price #WHUFC
— Kaveh Solhekol (@SkyKaveh) January 4, 2017
The Sunderland Echo subsequently claimed that West Ham are willing to pay £15million to land Defoe in the mid-season window.
The updates came shortly after Sky Sports reported that Sunderland had followed up a £5million bid with a £6million offer from West Ham for the 55-times England international.
— Sky Sports News HQ (@SkySportsNewsHQ) January 4, 2017
Fletcher, who Leeds came close to signing from Manchester United last summer, has been a fringe player for West Ham so far this season, with most of his 14 appearances coming as a substitute.
It has been reported that the east Londoners are expected to allow him to move elsewhere if they secure additional forwards.
The club have bid for Defoe and a column on the official website on Thursday afternoon also revealed that a £20million bid has been tabled for a Scotland-based player, believed to be Celtic striker Moussa Dembele.
Defoe has been in superb fettle for a struggling Sunderland team and his two goals in Monday’s 2-2 draw against Liverpool increased his Premier League tally for the campaign to 11 goals from 20 appearances.
In other Leeds transfer news, the club’s fans have gone mental on Twitter after Monk landed his first January signing.