West Ham appear to have moved ahead of Leeds United in the race to sign Shakhtar Donetsk defender Mykola Matviyenko.
Last month, football news website 90min reported that Leeds and West Ham were among a number of clubs who were interested in signing the 24-year-old Ukraine international, who can play as both a left-back or centre-back.
Matviyenko is reportedly valued at £20million by Shakhtar, which is similar to what Leeds have offered to sign Croatian teenager Josko Gvardiol from Dinamo Zagreb.
According to Sky Sports Italy’s Fabrizio Romano, the Whites have offered £19.9million and included a 20 per cent sell-on clause in their latest bid for the 18-year-old.
Like Matviyenko, Gvardiol is a left-sided centre-back who can also play at left-back [Mail] so you can see why Leeds would be interested in both players as they fit the profile of what Marcelo Bielsa is seemingly looking for.
However, as Leeds press on with their bid to sign Gvardiol, they are losing ground in the race for Matviyenko with The Athletic journalist David Ornstein reporting that West Ham have launched a bid for the Ukrainian.
“I’ve heard the Ukraine and Shakhtar centre-half Mykola Matviyenko has had an offer of some description from West Ham,” said Ornstein on The Ornstein & Chapman Podcast.
Gvardiol has made just 13 senior appearances in his entire career while Matviyenko is far more experienced having played 81 times since breaking into the Shakhtar first-team and winning 28 caps for the Ukraine national team.
Leeds may be looking at new left-sided centre-backs to add strength in depth to two areas of Bielsa’s squad.
At the start of the summer transfer window, it was apparent that Leeds wanted a new left-back with players like Danny Rose and Rico Henry being linked with moves to Elland Road.
However, as the summer has progressed, The Athletic’s Phil Hay has changed tune by saying “there’s been no more talk about a left-back”, which suggests Bielsa is happy to not bring in an out-and-out player in that role.
But he does need another centre-back with Liam Cooper and Robin Koch the only true senior options in that area.
Matviyenko – and Gvardiol – play both positions and could be handy for Leeds.
However, based on the latest news, West Ham sound more likely to sign the Ukrainian ace than Leeds.
Gvardiol wouldn’t be a bad consolation prize though.
In other Leeds United news, fans think that this La Liga player is on his way to Elland Road after an update in Spain.