Abel Hernandez has promised to deliver “great news” shortly with Leeds United locked in advanced talks about a deal to sign the Uruguayan striker.
Hernandez hinted that his future was on the verge of being resolved after taking the decision to turn down a contract extension at Hull City and leave the KCOM Stadium last week.
The 27-year-old is effectively a free agent and will reach the end of his Hull deal on June 30. Leeds, who anticipated his departure from Humberside, have been negotiating with Hernandez’s agent for the past month and made a lucrative offer to the forward prior to him quitting Hull.
Hernandez earns in the region of £40,000 at Hull but Leeds, without the cost of a transfer fee or any signing-on provisions, are prepared to finance a contract which will meet his wage demands. Any deal is expected to include a release clause, giving Hernandez - a former Premier League player - the chance to move on for a set fee in future if Leeds fail to muster a concerted bid for promotion.
United believe they are at the front of the queue to take Hernandez but the club are still to wrap up an agreement and the risk of talks failing at a late stage has prompted them to work on alternative options.
Hernandez returned to Uruguay after the end of the Championship season having finished the term with eight goals in 10 appearances and is still in South America. A message on his official Twitter account on Tuesday night read: “Great news (is) coming soon.”
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A proven centre-forward is a priority for Leeds after a campaign in which they suffered from the sale of Chris Wood.
Wood was sold to Burnley for £15m, a sum paid in instalments over three years, after scoring 30 times during the 2016-17 season and United failed to find an adequate replacement.
Loanee Pierre-Michel Lasogga returned to Hamburg last month after a mixed term at Elland Road and Leeds have no interest in signing the Germany permanently.
Lasogga claimed 10 goals while Kemar Roofe finished as top scorer with 14 in all competitions. The shortage of firepower and a porous defence dragged United down to 13th in the final Championship table.
Hernandez, who missed much of this season after undergoing surgery on an Achilles tendon, is keen to remain in England and lives locally having been at Hull since 2014.
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Hull paid £10m to land him from Palermo and saw a £20m bid from Aston Villa fall through after their promotion to the Premier League in 2016. City’s board made an offer to Hernandez in a bid to keep him this summer but the Uruguay international has formally rejected the proposal.
Talks are continuing this week in the midst of Leeds’ attempt to secure Marcelo Bielsa as their new head coach. Leeds have been actively negotiating with Bielsa’s representatives for several days and want an appointment confirmed quickly with their players set to start pre-season training on June 25.
Bielsa has been on holiday in Brazil and spoke on Tuesday at a football conference in Mexico but the 62-year-old is said by those close to him to be “serious” about the job at Elland Road having been out of work since his sacking by Lille before Christmas.
United are also working on contingencies, with two other candidates believed to be under consideration.