Leeds United are the “most determined” to sign Sassuolo midfielder Hamed Junior Traore and have already made a push for him, Gazzetta dello Sport reports.
AC Milan are also interested in the Ivorian international but the Whites are reportedly the only club who have “pushed the deal forward” so far.
The attacking midfield man has a strong eye for goal, having netted seven Serie A goals in 2021/22 out of 16 in the past three seasons.
He has reportedly garnered plenty of interest after a “great 2022”, with his side receiving calls from a number big European sides.
Juventus have previously looked at him, but it is Italian champions Milan that are the main option currently, with their status making them the preferred choice over a move to Elland Road.
It appears that the option of a Premier League transfer will be kept open currently as discussions with the Serie A giants are held to see whether they can afford the asking price of at least €25million for one of the mid-table club’s ‘jewels’.
In the GdS report, Sassuolo are noted as historically being open to deals that are structured to make payments down the line, which could work against United if it helps the Rossoneri come up with an offer.
Traore, 22, appears to operate in a similar area to the club’s first signing of the summer in Brenden Aaronson, so it is unclear whether they envisage the pair as rotating with each other or one being fitted into the side in a different position.
Goals are not something that can ever be overlooked though, especially when they come in a decent amount from players who aren’t out-and-out strikers.
With Raphinha probably moving on this summer, although with the changes in that saga it is difficult to tell at the moment, there is certainly a need to replace his scoring output.
Traore is also capable of playing further back in the midfield, and with the club also looking to find a replacement for Kalvin Phillips should he go to Manchester City the versatility of the young Ivorian is sure to be attractive.
He fits the profile of the summer business so far, as a young player who has performed strongly for a side outside the European elite.
If they can turn his head sufficiently before he joins that tier he looks like he would be a very strong addition, assuming he can adapt to the Premier League, and it seems they have shown their intent already.
And if big money comes into Elland Road from the sale of either or both stars he would also be very affordable, especially if Sassuolo were open to staggered payments or bonuses.
In other Leeds United news, one star man would already be signed for a rival side if it wasn’t for a key figure.