'They will be hoping it’s third time lucky' - former Rangers and Leeds United man on Ryan Kent interest
Leeds United's interest in Ryan Kent will not have subsided after last summer's unsuccessful attempt to buy him from Rangers, according to Mark Hateley.
The former Rangers and Elland Road striker believes Leeds will still have Kent on their radar, having first shown interest before he moved to Ibrox from Liverpool and then returned with a bid after promotion to the Premier League was secured.
Speaking on his podcast after Rangers' win over Celtic at the weekend, Hateley said the 24-year-old is exactly what Leeds need as they attempt to improve their squad for a second season in the top flight.
"Listen, Leeds have got him on their radar right, they have twice come in for him," said Hateley, who moved to Leeds briefly on loan from QPR in 1996, after five years with Glasgow Rangers
“They will be hoping it’s third time lucky. They have done well down in the English Premier League. They know what they need, they need somebody that can open something up in the blink of an eye, Kent is the boy that can do that.
“You pay £20m to stick somebody on the bench down in the English Premier League, that is the way it is. Kent has got this ability to turn a game in the blink of an eye.”
Marcelo Bielsa and director of football Victor Orta were both admirers of Kent but a bid to lure him south of the border was met with resistance by the Glasgow club.
“I think [Kent’s] club doesn’t want to sell him,” Orta told the YEP when the summer window closed.
“We tried and we believe clearly Glasgow Rangers doesn’t want the player to leave. It was never their plan to put Kent in the market. "
Kent has impressed again this season, scoring a dozen goals and adding 14 assists en route to a league title and a Europa League last 16 place with Steven Gerrard's Rangers. Three of his goals and four of his assists came in Europe.
He addressed the interest shown in him at the weekend, telling Sky: "It's nice to be linked with other football clubs, other big clubs but you have got to understand your duty of where you are at and for as long as I am at Rangers I will give my 100 per cent to the football club.
"I love this place and it has done so much for me so as long as I am here my mind is solely focused on Rangers.
"Is the Champions League a motivation? Massive. It's the biggest stage in club football and to be able to test yourself against the best players and teams in the world would be quite special."
Leeds are in the market for a left-back as they head into this summer's transfer window, with a midfielder also expected to be a priority. Amid reports of a new contract being offered to keep Kent at Rangers, he remains an interesting prospect for English clubs eyeing a winger. Kent's ability to cut in off the left flank and make things happen in central positions would bolster Bielsa's options out wide.
Although Jack Harrison's form has suffered a dip or two of late, he can be satisfied with a very solid season in the Premier League ahead of his loan move becoming permanent and Raphinha, a deadline day signing last summer, has excelled on the right flank. But Helder Costa has struggled to produce consistent performances when called upon and Ian Poveda is yet to show more than glimpses of his dribbling ability in cameo appearances.
Beyond the first team lies Crysencio Summerville, signed last summer from Feyenoord, who has caught the eye with his performances for the Under 23s and recently earned a spot on the bench for Bielsa's first team.