Exclusive: Leeds turn attention to signing Chelsea ace in Jan, 'huge' fee touted
Leeds United are keeping tabs on Chelsea defender Fikayo Tomori ahead of the January window, Football Insider understands.
Bielsa revealed at his media conference last Wednesday that he has no plans to buy a defender in the transfer window next month.
But a loan deal has not been ruled out behind the scenes at Leeds as the close assess potential options to strengthen the team’s injury-ravaged backline.
A recruitment source has told Football Insider that one player being considered is England centre-back Tomori.
The 22-year-old’s game time at Chelsea has been limited this season and he has featured in only one of the club’s 18 Premier League and Champions League fixtures.
Frank Lampard may be willing to loan him out for the second half of the season after talks over a season-long loan to West Ham floundered in early October.
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The Hammers held talks over a move that would have included what the source said would have been a “huge” loan fee but an agreement could not be reached and David Moyes eventually signed Craig Dawson on loan from Watford instead.
At Chelsea, Kurt Zouma and summer signing Thiago Silva have emerged as the first choice centre-back partnership.
Andreas Christensen and Antonio Rudiger area ahead of Tomori in the pecking order, which could mean he leaves on loan next month.
Two of this three appearances this season have come in the League Cup and he has not even made the bench for Chelsea’s last seven Premier League matches.
The west Londoners do not want to sell Tomori as they are convinced he has the potential to eventually develop into a top-class centre-back.
At Leeds, Bielsa is short of options following serious injuries to summer signings Robin Koch and Diego Llorente as well as the long-term absence of Gaetano Berardi.
Luke Ayling was deployed as a makeshift centre-back in last Friday’s 2-1 Premier League defeat against West Ham
Koch has been ruled out for at least three months after undergoing knee surgery, while Llorente broke down with another hamstring injury on his Premier League debut against Chelsea and will be sidelined for a few more weeks.