Leeds United have rejected a £2.5million offer from West Ham United for Max Gradel.
The Elland Road club turned down the bid earlier this week as the fight to sign their talented winger intensified.
West Ham’s approach for Gradel came on Monday, proposing a fee of more than £2million which included several add-ons.
Leeds have not commented on the offer but the club are understood to have rejected it swiftly, a response which they hope will dampen West Ham’s interest.
United manager Simon Grayson intends to retain Gradel for the forthcoming Championship season but the 23-year-old has only 12 months remaining on his contract and is also on the radar of Premier League sides Fulham and Wigan Athletic.
Gradel cost Leeds £200,000 from Leicester City in January of 2010 but his value rose dramatically during his first full season at Elland Road. The Ivory Coast international scored 18 goals last term and swept the board at United’s annual awards ceremony.
His contract with Leeds expires next June, however, and he looks increasingly unlikely to agree an extension to that deal. West Ham are looking to exploit Gradel’s contractual situation but Leeds refused to succumb to the bid which arrived from Upton Park this week.
West Ham are now considering whether to test Leeds’ resolve by increasing their offer to around the £3million mark, a figure which sources in London believe would tempt the Yorkshire side to negotiate a deal.
Gradel is presently on tour with the rest of United’s first-team players in Scotland and he featured in last night’s friendly against Falkirk.
Grayson stated last week that he expected Gradel and Robert Snodgrass – the target of a recent offer from Norwich City – to be part of his squad for the start of the season, saying: “I’m envisaging that both players will be here.”