Middlesbrough boss Garry Monk has again played down Leeds United’s chances of landing Rudy Gestede as the Elland Road club press on with their striker search after tying up the signing of Jay-Roy Grot.
Grot sealed his arrival at Leeds from Dutch club NEC Nijmegen yesterday, agreeing a four-year deal, and Leeds are pushing to add another new forward to their ranks with the transfer deadline less than a week away.
Leeds convinced NEC to sell Grot, a Holland Under-19 international, by negotiating a deal which saw United pay an initial fee of £750,000.
The value of the deal could rise to more than £1.5m with add-ons but Middlesbrough were less receptive to a £6m bid for Gestede earlier this week and despite continuing interest at Elland Road, United are yet to mount a second approach.
The 28-year-old, who cost Boro £6m from Aston Villa in January, has been central to Monk’s plans so far this season, starting all of the club’s Championship games. The Teesside club are understood to value him closer to £10m. The urgency of Leeds’ business was intensified by Chris Wood’s £15m move to Burnley on Monday and the club have until Thursday’s 11pm deadline to wrap up their transfers.
Speaking yesterday, however, Monk reiterated his stance on keeping Gestede, insisting that departures from The Riverside were not planned despite Boro’s recent offer for Brentford forward Jota.
The former Leeds boss said: “It’s all speculation so I don’t really have answer on it. It’s more about the couple of positions where we need to strengthen the squad because we’ve had a lot of outgoings and we’ve got a much smaller squad than before.
“That is by design but it’s about strengthening in those couple of positions to make sure we have what we need.”
Grot is in contention to make his Leeds debut at Nottingham Forest to morrow after becoming United’s 13th signing of the summer.
The 6’3” striker came close to a move to Fiorentina in May but that transfer ran aground as NEC and Fiorentina haggled over a fee.
He arrived in England on the back of 20 appearances in Holland’s top flight season, a campaign which ended with NEC’s relegation.
Grot said: “It’s a big step in my career to play for Leeds United. I come from Holland but my dream was to play in England.
“I will do my best, I’ll work hard and try to score as many goals as possible.”
Meanwhile, Norwich City are understood to be tracking Leeds winger Stuart Dallas ahead of the closure of the window.
Northern Ireland international Dallas is currently involved under head coach Thomas Christiansen’s plans and scored in last week’s 2-0 win at Sunderland but Norwich are looking to exploit his contractual situation at Elland Road.
Dallas’ existing deal is up next summer and he is yet to receive an extension.