By Danny Wright
Leeds are interested in re-signing Bournemouth winger Max Gradel, but they could be set to miss out on him as he has chosen to make a move back to France, according to a report.
The Sun claims that the the 29-year-old is likely to join either Toulouse or Nantes in Ligue 1, despite Sunderland making a loan bid for his services.
It is understood that former Whites boss Simon Grayson, who has worked with Gradel at Elland Road, had approached the Cherries with a loan offer which included an option-to-buy clause.
However it is said that the south coast club had rejected the offer from the Black Cats.
Gradel left Leeds for St. Etienne in 2011 after playing a vital role in the club’s promotion from League One.
He made 82 appearances across all competitions for the Whites, scoring 25 goals and supplying 13 assists.
The 55-times Ivory Coast international spent four years in France with St. Etienne, and after over 100 appearances in Ligue 1, looks set on a move back there with Toulouse or Nantes.
Gradel only signed a new four-year contract with Bournemouth last year, but struggling to make an impact in Eddie Howe’s squad last term as he failed to start a single fixture in the Premier League.
Football Insider Verdict
Gradel would have been a great addition to Thomas Christiansen’s squad ahead of next season, but the Whites really need to look at strengthening their defence before anywhere else. Andrea Radrizzani’s takeover at Elland Road has filled the place with an air of optimism and hope, and bringing back Gradel would have been the icing on the cake for most supporters. However it seems a switch back to Ligue 1 is preferred by the winger, who looks to be in desperate need of first team football after a miserable season at the Vitality Stadium with Bournemouth. It’s been a good summer for Leeds so far, but they still have some work to do.
In other Leeds news, Christiansen has confirmed that this 27-year-old will be leaving Elland Road.