It appears that Leeds United could be set for disappointment in securing the services of Atletico Madrid forward Matheus Cunha, as fellow Premier League side Wolves lead the race for his signature.
This will come as a blow to a Whites side who desperately need to strengthen up front in January, with Cunha being a familiar name among supporters after being scouted extensively prior to his 2021 move to Atletico.
Signs initially appeared positive, with Spanish media outlet Relevo linking Cunha with a move to the Premier League early in December. Leeds were reported to be one of the Brazilian’s suitors alongside Everton and Wolves.
The Athletic’s David Ornstein then confirmed the “serious interest” the Whites had in Cunha, who were keen to sign a deal with him in the new year.
A recent report from Marca [12 December], however, suggested that it was Wolves who were closest to agreeing terms with the 23-year-old.
Further confirmation of this has emerged from Yorkshire Evening Post journalist Graham Smyth this evening [14 December], who claimed that Leeds were not currently front of the queue for Cunha.
“The problem for the Whites is that Wolves appear well down the road with Atlético,” he said.
“It’s not long since Manchester United appeared keen on him, although he may have been one of many caught in the crossfire of their scattergun recruitment approach, and according to The Athletic, Everton and Arsenal are looking him over.
“Competing with Wolves – notwithstanding the Jorge Mendes angle – and Everton is one thing, for Leeds, but ‘big six’ interest in a striker, particularly when that club is sitting top of the Premier League and has a star striker sitting on the sidelines for three months, is never good news.
“Leeds have sold themselves well since promotion but they don’t boast European football and they’re competing for midtable comfort, not trophies.”
Too little too late
When it comes to signing players with a profile like Cunha’s, expressing a “serious interest” is not enough.
Money talks, and a realistic offer needs to be made quickly as a declaration of intent, more than anything else.
Of course at this stage anything could still happen, but it is disappointing to learn that the Whites may be getting pipped to yet another signing by a club with Premier League ambitions similar to their own in Wolves.
If bringing the Brazilian international to Elland Road begins to look like an impossibility, it is crucial that the club move on to other striker targets quickly, learning from previous mistakes made with players such as De Ketelaere in the summer.
After all, Leeds’ Premier League survival may very well depend on it.