Leeds United linked with swoop for THREE midfielders including Barcelona star and highly-rated Chelsea youngster - Reports
The 29-year-old has trodden an unusual career path in recent seasons, and signed for the Catalan giants earlier this year, just six months after leaving Championship side Middlesbrough.
That sudden shift in trajectory was punctuated by a brief spell with La Liga outfit CD Leganes, but after an underwhelming spell at Camp Nou, it is understood that Barca are keen to offload the Denmark international in the upcoming winter transfer window.
Sport’s report names Leeds as one of three interested Premier League clubs, with both West Ham and West Brom also mentioned.
The Hammers are said to have held talks over the summer with regards to a potential swoop for Braithwaite, but the English side were seemingly unwilling to meet Barcelona’s valuation of the player.
The continental superpower paid around £16 million for the forward – who can also play out wide and in midfield – back in February, and would presumably like to recoup as much of that fee as possible.
Sport suggest that all three interested Premier League sides have enquired about the Dane’s situation, but there is some doubt as to whether Braithwaite himself wants a move.
The attacker is said to be happy with his current lot, and sees his spell at one of Europe’s elite sides as a “great opportunity” that he is unwilling to pass up.
From a Leeds perspective, there will be some doubt as to how much truth there is behind this update from the continent.
Marcelo Bielsa’s men have been in free-scoring form since returning to the Premier League, and have Patrick Bamford and Rodrigo as reliable options at the point of attack.
Instead, much of the speculation surrounding the Whites going into the January market appears to be angled towards them bringing in a more conventional attack-minded midfield presence.
Chelsea starlet Conor Gallagher, currently on loan at West Brom has emerged as reported target in recent days – although the nature of his temporary deal at The Hawthorns likely means the he would not be available until next summer.
Similarly, there is continued speculation linking Leeds to Norwich City talent Todd Cantwell.
The Whites were said to have held a strong interest in the player over the summer, but failed to reach an agreement with the Canaries over his transfer.
A recent update from Football Insider claimed that the Championship side have come to regret not cashing in on the 22-year-old when they had the chance earlier in the year, however – especially after a disappointing start to the campaign that has seen his form dip considerably.
Who is Martin Braithwaite?
The Dane started his career Esbjerg fB, before joining French outfit Toulouse in 2013. After an impressive four-year stint in France – scoring 40 goals in 149 matches – he signed for Middlesbrough in a deal worth around £10 million. The 29-year-old struggled to make an impact on Teeside, netting nine times in 40 appearances, and was shipped out on loan to Leganes in 2019. Braithwaite made his move to Spain permanent at the beginning of the 2019/20 campaign, but had to wait just six months before an injury-depleted Barcelona came calling in February. The transfer was sanctioned as an emergency deal by La Liga, and caused some controversy on the continent, leaving Leganes without one of their star assets heading into the final months of last season. Since then, Braithwaite has struggled for minutes at Barca, and has scored just once in 16 outings. This term he has managed just 37 minutes of league action. At international level, the forward has been capped 45 times, scoring seven goals. He played 74 minutes in Denmark’s recent 1-0 win over England.