By George Overhill

25th Jan, 2023 | 1:44pm

Weston McKennie stumbling block emerges as Leeds United hammer out talks with Juventus ahead of Newcastle and Arsenal

Leeds United want to sign Weston McKennie on a loan-to-buy option deal but Juventus want a permanent obligation, la Gazzetta dello Sport reports.

The American is available thanks to the Old Lady being hit by a 15-point deduction in Serie A, putting European football in doubt and a need for cash to be brought in.

Fabrizio Romano reported on Wednesday [BetVictor, 25 January] personal terms for the 24-year-old being accepted, and says it is down to the “final step” between the clubs.

La Gazzetta report that the difference of opinion relates to whether the Whites are obligated to sign the American on a permanent deal at the end of the season, with the preference at Elland Road to keep their options open.

Talks are continuing though with various Premier League rivals also interested in the midfielder, as Arsenal, Newcastle and Aston Villa are considered “in the background” and Tottenham a long-time follower.

McKennie’s own words are also noted in terms of the potential to partner international teammate Tyler Adams in West Yorkshire, having said: “Tyler and I are perfect together: he runs for both of us and I make the plays. In truth, we have known each other for some time and we know well what the strengths and weaknesses of the other are”.

Crunch talks

Juve are clearly pretty desperate for cash given the mess they have found themselves in so will not want to lose the player for the second half of the season and then see him turn up back in Turin when they no longer need him.

A similar situation happened with Aaron Ramsey’s unsuccessful loan to Rangers last season so the Italian giants, whose entire board resigned over the allegations of financial irregularities which preceded the points deduction [Sky Sports, 29 November], are looking to avoid the same thing happening again.

Leeds United can’t be pushed into signing up for something that ends up becoming a burden for them though, with Premier League survival not assured despite the squad looking enhanced by the winter window.

If the player is looking forward to linking up with Adams then there is every chance a successful partnership helps push the club away from the drop zone, but if a deal can be reached then a clause would have to be inserted to negate the move should the Whites go down.

A lower fee may be palatable for Juventus if Leeds agree to make it definite further down the line, although the ghost of the Jean-Kevin Augustin saga lurks in the background of loan deals with permanent clauses dependent on a change of division.

If the likes of Arsenal and Newcastle are in the race, then there is clearly scope to miss out should they come in with more money since they are in no danger of relegation, and Aston Villa have proven themselves ambitious in recent months.

McKennie is sold on the deal but he won’t be arriving unless talks between the two clubs reach a satisfactory conclusion, and at the mid-point of the season both sides are in relatively precarious positions which could prove a stumbling block.

In other Leeds United news, a Whites player has “done all he can” to push for a loan exit but is now stuck playing a waiting game.