LEEDS UNITED are closing in on a deal for NEC Nijmegen’s Jay-Roy Grot and are weighing up an improved bid for Rudy Gestede after failing with an initial offer for the Middlesbrough striker.
Grot is expected to arrive in England for talks and a medical today after United tabled an official approach with NEC in the aftermath of Chris Wood’s £15m departure to Burnley. The 19-year-old is valued at around £1.5m by Nijmegen and looks set to move to England after narrowly failing to win a move to Fiorentina at the start of the summer.
Fiorentina opened formal negotiations with the forward but backed out of a deal having failed to agree a fee with NEC.
Leeds, however, are willing to meet Nijmegen’s asking price and hope to finalise a move in time for Saturday’s Championship game at Nottingham Forest. The 6’3” forward, a Holland Under-19 international, turned professional with NEC in 2015 and played 20 times in the Dutch top flight last season.
He is poised to become the first of at least two new strikers to arrive at Elland Road before the transfer window as Leeds attempt to plug the gap left by the departure of player-of-the-year Wood on Monday.
The club’s bid for Grot was made alongside a £6m offer for Gestede and Leeds are considering their next move with the Frenchman after Boro turned down that approach.
Gestede has been on Boro’s books for less than 12 months – a January signing from Aston Villa – and is currently part of Garry Monk’s plans at The Riverside but United could test Boro’s resistance with an increased offer in the coming days.
Gestede built his reputation on a spell at Blackburn Rovers in which he scored 32 times in 60 league appearances but the 28-year-old has experienced mixed form in spells with Villa and Boro.
Leeds director of football Victor Orta was head of recruitment at The Riverside at the time of Gestede’s move from Villa and is pushing the drive for new forwards at Leeds before the transfer deadline passes at 11pm next Thursday.
Speaking after Boro’s League Cup win over Scunthorpe United last night, Monk played down the prospect of him agreeing to sell Gestede to the club he managed last season.
Gestede featured for the final nine minutes as a substitute against Scunthorpe and is likely to start when Boro host Preston North End in the Championship on Saturday.
Monk said: “He’s an important player for us and a big part of what we’re doing here. We’ve said it many times – we’re not focused on that side of things.
“We’ve moved a lot of players out and we actually have a much smaller squad now than there was last season. We still need one or two more in-comings.
“We don’t want to lose anyone. The squad has been achieved by design and the players that are here now are ones that we want to keep.
“The owner has said it himself – anyone that we want to keep, we can keep. We don’t have to sell anyone.”