By Alex Stevens
Leeds have been forced to abandon plans to sign Liverpool attacking midfielder Ovie Ejaria, according to a reliable journalist.
Yorkshire Evening Correspondent Phil Hay revealed on Twitter on Monday that the emerging Anfield star had been on Leeds’ wanted list as they aim to reinforce their squad before Tuesday night’s transfer deadline.
Hay, who is a reliable source of information about the Yorkshire giants, told supporters of the club on his personal Twitter account that Ejaria was “mentioned” to him as a target of the club “over the weekend”.
But any possible deal now appears dead in the water after the 19-year-old suffered ankle ligament damage following Liverpool’s FA Cup defeat to Wolves.
@ LufcThommo @ Jameslufc9B Liverpool’s Ovie Ejaria was mentioned to me over the w/e but he rolled an ankle on Sat and is out for a while.
— Phil Hay (@PhilHayYEP) January 30, 2017
Ejaria was named in the Liverpool starting XI for the fifth time this season but was withdrawn after 74 minutes of the 2-1 fourth-round loss to Championship side Wolves.
Manager Jurgen Klopp confirmed at his media briefing on Monday that the 19-year-old former Arsenal trainee has suffered an ankle injury and is set for a lengthy spell on the sidelines.
“Probably a lot of people thought after the [Wolves] game, ‘What were they doing?’ [but] he played with a ruptured syndesmosis,” said Klopp of Ejaria, as quoted by the official Liverpool website.
“I don’t exactly know how this works but he got a knock in the first half, half-time he got treatment, and everybody was asking if it was good [and he said] it was good.
“I couldn’t see anything in the second half and he woke up the next morning and it was [swollen]. These boys really want [to play] – if there’s any doubt about it – even the very young ones.
“Now he’s obviously out for a while. [The syndesmosis] is a ligament between the shin bone and the [ankle]. It’s not nice, it’s really painful.”
Hay explained the Ejaria interest as he shared an update of Leeds’ transfer plans with less than 36 hours of the January window remaining.
He said Villarreal winger Alfonso Pedraza was closing in on a loan move to Elland Road, and the club were still working on a deal to sign striker Ashley Fletcher from West Ham.
Ejaria has broken into the Liverpool first-team set-up this season alongside fellow academy graduates Ben Woodburn and Trent Alexander-Arnold.
The attacking midfielder has made eight first-team appearances in total, with six of them coming in the cup competitions.
In other Leeds news, there has been a finale in a major deal after a £7million Leeds bid was tabled.