By Harry Sykes
Leeds’ bid to prise Ashley Fletcher from West Ham by Tuesday night is dead in the water, according to a reliable broadcaster.
TalkSPORT journalist and host Ian Abrahams took to Twitter to deadline day to deliver an update on the Yorkshire giants’ month-long pursuit of Fletcher.
Following comments by West Ham co-owner David Sullivan that teenager Reece Oxford is the only player who will be leaving the London Stadium, Abrahams stressed that Fletcher “isn’t going to Leeds”.
— Ian Abrahams (Moose) (@BroadcastMoose) January 31, 2017
The post by Abrahams, who is a West Ham expert, on his personal Twitter account appears to have brought an emphatic end to Garry Monk’s attempt to land the striker for a second consecutive window.
It comes after the Mirror transfer blog (Monday, 7.02pm) claimed Leeds were in pole position to land Hammers fringe striker Fletcher.
But Sky Sports reported on their website late on Monday night that Slaven Bilic has decided to end West Ham’s pursuit of Scott Hogan as “he does not need” the Brentford forward.
Bilic’s decision to call a half to the Premier League club’s pursuit appears to have had ramifications for Leeds as the manager will only allow Fletcher to leave if he adds more firepower up front.
It is a huge blow to Elland Road manager Monk, who has reiterated on multiple occasions this month that he wants a new striker to provide cover for main man Chris Wood.
The spearhead is the second leading scorer in the Championship this season with 17 goals, and has netted 20 in all competitions, but there is a concern about the calibre of back-up if he suffers an injury or a loss of form.
The Mail went as far as to report on Sunday night Leeds were expecting the arrival of Fletcher and that the Premier League striker would transfer from the London Stadium to Elland Road before the window shuts on Tuesday night.
Leeds have not yet signed any new players in the January window and Monk made the case for reinforcements following Sunday’s humiliating FA Cup exit to non-league Sutton United.
Football Insider verdict:
West Ham’s decision to pull the plug on their Hogan pursuit has major ramifications for Leeds, who have been patiently waiting for the Premier League club to land a new striker and then give the green light for Fletcher to leave. Unless West Ham can recruit another forward before Tuesday night, it appears that Leeds’ pursuit of Fletcher has reached a dead end. Monk will hope that the Elland Road chiefs can pull a late cat out of the bag.
In other Leeds news, there has been a finale in a major deal after a £7million Leeds bid was tabled.