In an interview with Football Insider, Former Premier League striker Kevin Phillips has backed Leeds United to make a fresh attempt to sign Southampton striker Che Adams this summer.
The 23-year-old came on the cusp of signing for the west Yorkshire outfit for £19m in January, but the move fell through after Saints boss Ralph Hasenhuttl made a late decision to keep hold of the forward.
Adams continued to remain a fringe player under the Austrian until the coronavirus shutdown in March and it has been claimed that he could be available for a lesser fee of £10m when the transfer window reopens.
Leeds sporting director Victor Orta recently confirmed that Adams was close to signing for the club in January. The Spaniard remained non-committal about the summer business under the current financial situation, but Phillips feels the club should return for Adams when the season concludes.
“It depends what budget they are working with. From my experience at clubs, if you have gone for somebody in January and it has not worked out you do not all of a sudden ditch them or bin them to one side,” He told.
“You keep it bubbling until the summer and look at it again. He has taken a backwards step at Southampton but I could still see Leeds going in because Bielsa has shown that he gets the best out of his players. There is no reason he could not do that with Che Adams.”
Adams made the move to the Saints from Birmingham City last summer after an impressive 2018/2019 season where he bagged 22 goals and five assists for the west Midlands outfit.
He was always expected to face a stiffer challenge with the switch to the top-flight, but he has so far failed to find the back of the net for the Saints in any competition. He has registered four assists but his primary job remains to score goals.
Like most teams, Leeds have been hampered by the financial impact of the coronavirus outbreak but their burden could be eased, particularly if they are able to return to the top-flight next term.
They are currently at the top of the Championship standings with a seven-point advantage over third-placed Fulham. Hence, they are in a good position to seal promotion to the Premier League with nine games left.
In that case, Leeds will definitely want another striker in the squad. Patrick Bamford has been the regular starter under Bielsa. Tyler Roberts and Jean-Kevin Augustin are the back-up options but the latter has yet to make any impact since his loan move from RB Leipzig in January.
The Frenchman has managed less than 60 minutes of first-team action. He is currently on the sidelines with a recurrence of a hamstring injury, but the club face the obligation to buy him, suppose they are promoted.
Regardless of Augustin’s future, the club may consider another addition to the centre-forward department. Adams could be offered a lifeline to revive his career at Leeds, having dropped down the selection order at Southampton.
Stats from Transfermarkt.com