By George Overhill

15th Aug, 2022 | 7:10pm

Leeds United target Joao Pedro subject to £20million Newcastle bid - Sky Sports' Dharmesh Sheth

Leeds United need to up the anti in their chase for Watford forward Joao Pedro after Newcastle had a major bid turned down, but may return.

Whites chief Andrea Radrizzani was conducting personal negotiations with Watford owner Gino Pozzo for the 20-year-old and his Hornets teammate Ismaila Sarr, Foot Mercato journalist Santi Aouna reported last week (10 August).

United were apparently after a loan for the youngster, but they have been significantly bypassed in the race for him by their Premier League rivals.

Sky Sports journalist Dharmesh Sheth shared on Twitter on Monday evening (15 August): “Watford reject £20m bid from Newcastle United for forward Joao Pedro. Told that he’s not for sale.”

Additionally, the Daily Mail’s Craig Hope reports that the Magpies may return with a bigger bid, writing on his Twitter account: “Newcastle are considering whether to return with an improved offer for Watford’s Joao Pedro after a £20m bid was rejected. Not totally deterred by club’s “not for sale” stance just yet.”

Aouna had originally reported that the Championship club’s position was they preferred a permanent sale so there is reason to believe that the response to Eddie Howe’s side is a negotiating position.

Either way, if the Whites are serious about their pursuit of Pedro then they have a major rival to contend with.

If it wasn’t obvious before, the scare provided by dual injuries, to Joe Gelhardt before the Southampton draw, then Patrick Bamford during the match, show the club need another body at the position.

They simply cannot let all the good business done in the transfer window end up with them still putting winger Dan James out there.

There have been a host of forward targets linked to the club this summer, but none has seem them show the same level of interest they did for Charles De Ketelaere.

Unfortunately for the club, and the fans, he was never interested, so that energy needs to be directed somewhere else in a meaningful way before the window closes.

If Pedro is to be the man it is clearly going to be a fight with Newcastle now.

Although he is of the right age profile, similar to De Ketelaere, 21, and Arnaud Kalimuendo, 20, the Brazilian arguably has the weakest body of work so far.

That’s not to say that he won’t develop into a top player, but if the club were not ready to make a proper play for Kalimuendo before his move to Rennes, for less than it will apparently cost to sign Pedro, perhaps this move is too expensive for them.

He has 10 goals in the Championship but just three in 28 Premier League games last season, so it is potential rather than output that is attracting sides, but there is clearly enough for a big-money chase to have developed.

In other Leeds United news, the tables are turned in regard to the club’s chase of another multi-million pound forward option.