Reliable journalist: This is Leeds first choice January target, club in running to strike deal
By Alex Stevens
Leeds are still in the running to sign West Ham striker Ashley Fletcher this month, according to a reliable journalist.
The Yorkshire giants have been credited with a strong interest in Fletcher as manager Garry Monk aims to strengthen a side that has emerged as genuine promotion contenders.
Monk revealed on Monday that Leeds are in the market for two new players in the January window as he also emphatically dismissed the possibility of any senior men leaving the club.
The Sun claimed last month that the Championship big hitters have opened talks with West Ham over a deal to sign Fletcher.
Alan Nixon, who is a Sun correspondent and writes a transfer column for the newspaper, was asked on Twitter on Monday evening if there had been a “development” in Leeds’ pursuit of Fletcher.
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Nixon replied on his personal Twitter account that the club were “still in [the] running” to sign the 21-year-old and that he remained their “first choice” in the January window.
Monk has explained that he is “definitely” in the market for a forward in the January window as he looks for cover for leading scorer Chris Wood.
The New Zealand international returned to the Leeds starting XI on Monday after fully recovering from a hamstring problem and scored two goals in the team’s 3-0 win over Rotherham.
It lifted Wood’s goal tally for the season to an impressive 16, 13 of which have come in the league.
The club’s next top marksmen is centre-back Kyle Bartley, who scored his fourth goal in all competitions on Monday with a header against Rotherham.
Fletcher is a product of the fabled United youth system but did not make a single appearance for the senior team before letting his contract run down to leave his boyhood club in July.
He was the subject of strong interest from top flight and lower league clubs after catching the eye of scouts with his on-loan displays for Barnsley in their charge from League One to the Championship at the end of last season.
Fletcher scored nine goals in 26 matches for the Tykes, including in the play-off final, to seal their passage to the second tier.
The 21-year-old has found chances hard to come by at West Ham, but has made 14 appearances and has been a regular member of the matchday squad.
Fletcher has scored just the single Hammers goal to date, against Manchester United in the League Cup.
The striker has been an unused substitute in West Ham’s last two matches, including in Monday’s 2-0 defeat to United at the London Stadium.
In other Leeds news, the club are in talks to sign a £2million Premier League striker.