The Athletic journalist Phil Hay has reported that Leeds United could revive their interest in Todd Cantwell and Louie Sibley in the January transfer window.
The Daily Star reported at the weekend that Leeds were expected to sign Cantwell, 22, from Championship club Norwich City before the 5pm domestic transfer deadline on Friday.
Cantwell was one of Norwich’s best players as they suffered relegation to the Premier League last season but the England Under-21 attacker remains a part of Daniel Farke’s squad with just hours left before the deadline passes.
The Athletic’s Derby correspondent Ryan Conway has recently reported that Sibley, 19, is also a target for the Whites but that their interest wasn’t too intense.
And while deals for Cantwell and Sibley won’t be done before the end of play on Friday, Hay has mooted the possibility of Leeds reviving their interest in the attacking midfielders in January.
“People will have seen the links to Todd Cantwell which blew up a couple of weeks ago and, also, links to Louie Sibley, the young midfielder at Derby,” said the former Yorkshire Evening Post journalist on the latest episode of The Phil Hay Show podcast.
“Sibley, in particular, fits in the mould of what they would want to look for but finances are going to be an issue. They’ve already committed a huge amount of money to the transfer window – £100million, in theory.
“Neither Cantwell nor Sibley are going to come cheap and there hasn’t been any evidence of movement this week. It hasn’t seemed that Leeds seriously thought either of those deals would happen.
“If neither player goes elsewhere – and there doesn’t seem to be anything in the offing for Cantwell and Derby are very resistant to losing Sibley – then they’re players who can be revisited in January or potentially next summer.
“In terms of incomings, it does feel that Leeds are done.”
Bielsa isn’t a fan of signing new players in January.
Every Leeds United fan who’s followed the club for the last couple of seasons will know about the Argentine’s infamous bedding-in period and what he expects of his new players before throwing them into games.
It’s not to say that Bielsa hasn’t signed new players in January. In his first season he signed goalkeeper Kiko Casilla, who was almost instantly installed as the number one.
However, bedding in a goalkeeper is bound to be a lot easier than bedding in an outfielder – which is what happened last January in the cases of Ian Poveda and Jean-Kevin Augustin.
The French striker wasn’t anywhere near Bielsa’s fitness standards and he played just three times in the Championship – as a substitute – before injuries and more fitness issues led to his time at Elland Road coming to an end.
Poveda also arrived in January from Manchester City and looked as though he was set for a first-team role after being named on the bench a couple of times in the Championship.
However, that was short-lived and Poveda then dropped to the Under-23s before making a comeback on the other side of football’s lockdown.
Sibley, at the age of 19, can still be viewed as one for the future so signing him in January would make a lot more sense than signing 22-year-old Cantwell, who would probably expect first-team football almost straight away at Elland Road.
But both of their futures are bound to depend on where Derby and Norwich are in the Championship when January comes around.
Would either club be willing to sell top young English attacking midfielders if it disrupts their charge for promotion?
If it was Leeds, we wouldn’t want that.
In other Leeds United news, Hay has shared what he’s heard “off-the-record” from the Whites about a major Premier League development.