Darren Bent implored Southampton attacker Che Adams to snub the chance to join Leeds United.
Speaking exclusively to Football Insider correspondent Laura O’Leary, the ex-England forward admitted he’d hate to see Adams back in the Championship as he may end up wrongly being tagged not good enough for the Premier League.
It was recently reported that Southampton’s board were ready to accept a bid for Adams from Leeds until Ralph Hasenhuttl put his foot down and demanded he wasn’t sold.
Despite this stance, it has been claimed that Leeds aren’t giving up in their pursuit of the Saints forward.
Bent warned Adams off joining Leeds and admitted that if the promising attacker was to leave the Saints, then he should aim to stay in the Premier League.
When asked about the board being open to letting Adams go until Hasenhuttl stepped in and whether Adams should try and force the move to Leeds for game time, Bent told Football Insider: “It’s a strange one because I was convinced he had all the attributes to do well in the Premier League, he’s strong, he’s powerful, he’s fast and he was brilliant for Birmingham.
“But for whatever reason, it hasn’t happened.
“I still believe he is good enough to succeed in the Premier League, but the Premier League is very unforgiving.
“When I was younger and playing in the Premier League, managers would give you time to find your feet and get a goal, look at when Liverpool signed Crouch.
“But nowadays you need instant results and given the position Southampton are in, they can’t guarantee him game time as Danny Ings is on fire and playing really well.
“Also for Che Adams, I’d hate for him to go back to the Championship so quickly, at least see if you could get an opportunity to turn it around in the Premier League.
“If he goes back to the Championship, people may just see him as a Championship player, he needs to stay in the Premier League and keep fighting.
“The moment he goes back to the Championship, people will say he’s not good enough, he’s a Championship player and he may even be put into the same category as Dwight Gayle, and I’d hate that to happen.”
The 23-year-old forward has played 20 times across all competitions this season, registering three assists in the process.
Adams joined the Saints from Birmingham City in the summer and is contracted to stay at St Mary’s until 2024.
In other Leeds United news, Whelan says he has been blown away by a player who has left him “crying out for more”.