Leeds United ponder next move after bid for Barnsley striker rejected

Sam Winnall celebrates after scoring with teammate Adam Hammill. PIC: James Hardisty

Sam Winnall celebrates after scoring with teammate Adam Hammill. PIC: James Hardisty

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Leeds United are considering their next move after Barnsley rejected a six-figure offer for top scorer Sam Winnall.

The League One club turned down a bid of £300,000 for Leeds and are holding out for a fee in excess of £1m amid ongoing attempts by United to sign a new striker before Monday’s transfer deadline.

Sam Winnall.

Sam Winnall.

United’s approach for Winnall – rapidly dismissed by Barnsley who considered the valuation derisory – came as Steve Evans insisted the club were still in the market for players, despite owner Massimo Cellino saying new arrivals were “unlikely” in the days ahead.

In the past 24 hours, Leeds are also understood to have failed with an attempt to take Fraizer Campbell on loan from Crystal Palace.

Campbell, 28, has been largely surplus at Selhurst Park this season but Palace are believed to be planning to retain him beyond the end of this transfer window, despite their recent deal to sign Emmanuel Adebayor.

Cellino’s comments, given to Sky Sports, appeared to draw a line under Evans’ attempts to add to his tally of three January recruits but Leeds are now deciding whether to up their bid for Winnall.

The 25-year-old – a former Wolverhampton Wanderers trainee who Barnsley signed from Scunthorpe United in 2014 – has been in prolific form this season, scoring 15 times and helping the South Yorkshire club to the northern area final of the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy.

United’s move for him followed a streak of six goals in his last six appearances.

Evans is pushing to add to his group of strikers with Leeds short of options and fresh doubt surrounding the fitness of Leeds’ leading scorer Chris Wood.

Wood sustained another hamstring problem in midweek and is a major doubt for tomorrow’s FA Cup tie away at Bolton.

Evans has already agreed loan deals for Liam Bridcutt and Mustapha Carayol this month and United’s sale of Sam Byram in a £3.7m transfer to West Ham United last week was followed by the arrival of Toumani Diagouraga for £575,000 from Brentford.

Speaking yesterday, Evans said: “If the president says there’s no more signings then there’ll be no more signings but the words I heard attributed to the president was ‘it was unlikely’. It was unlikely a week ago that we were going to sign the boy from Brentford (Toumani Diagouraga).

“He takes control of the financial situation so he knows how near we are. When he says it’s unlikely, he may feel that one or two things are slipping away from us. We’ll see where we go.

“My understanding is that we’ve got negotiations going on on several fronts.”

Evans defended Cellino and said he had received “100 per cent” support from United’s owner - but admitted he would be “disappointed” if he failed to add more players to his squad before Monday’s 11pm deadline.

“One hundred per cent I’ve been supported by the president,” Evans said. “There’s no question of that.

“Would I be disappointed if we don’t add from now? Yes. But have I been backed and are we trying to get the players in who I’ve given on a sheet of paper? Yes we are.

“I’m a supporter too so the same level of disappointment with them would be the same with me. I’m under no illusions that I have to win matches as manager. Signing good players gives me an opportunity to do that.”

Evans said he was increasingly confident in the wake of Byram’s sale to West Ham that no other of United’s young players would be lost before Monday’s deadline.

Bournemouth have a long-standing interest in Lewis Cook and both Stoke City and Crystal Palace have had their attention turned to Charlie Taylor this month.

Those players, like midfielder and current player-of-the-year Alex Mowatt, are into the last 18 months of their contracts.

Evans said: “It’s not the time during a transfer window when people are speculating to go and say we’ll do X, Y or Z with them but people are misguided if they don’t think there are conversations going on with the representatives of those players. That will take the course it takes.

“Given the size of the bids we’ve had they’d have left already at most clubs. The president’s been outstanding and kept those players. He’s confided in me about the some of the bids and I’ve thought ‘wow’.

“I sit here and not for one second do I think about of our exciting youngsters will leave this club in this window.”