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Are Leeds United trying to negotiate a lower price for Preston’s Jordan Hugill in the press?

Talk of the proposed transfer fee being too large is rather out of character by the current regime at Elland Road

Preston North End v Middlesbrough - Sky Bet Championship Photo by Alex Dodd - CameraSport via Getty Images

Preston North End striker Jordan Hugill is a frequent name linked to Leeds United in the press. And with good reason, as he was one of the top goal scorers in the Championship last season, and has eight league goals this season, one more than Leeds forward Kemar Roofe, who is the leading Championship goal scorer for the Whites.

Leeds were heavily linked with the striker during the summer transfer window, with Birmingham City and Reading FC also interested in landing the striker’s signature.

Hugill scored 13 goals in the Championship last season, and while Hugill isn’t as mobile as a Roofe or a Ekuban, has certainly proved his ability to finish in a rather low-scoring team at Preston.

What makes this transfer link much more interesting this time around is that the club is seeming to let interest in a player leak out to the local press. Most of the time when Phil Hay, or one of the other local reporters, go public with transfer news, the deal is pretty much done. The Vurnon Anita deal, for example, was done and dusted before Hay was able to report it online and in the Yorkshire Evening Post. It’s almost completely out of character for this club to have even their local reporter, Hay, get a glimpse into their inner-workings in regards to transfer policy, much less allow him to report about it in print.

In his story about Thomas Christiansen saying that he’d like to see a striker, Hay also mentions that the club are interested in Hugill, but that the price tag that Preston has set, £8 million, is more than the club is willing to spend.

Could this be an attempt to negotiate a lower fee in the press? Hugill handed in a transfer request last August, with rumours swirling around him, but the club ultimately rejected his request. Preston also reportedly rejected bids of £8 million from Wolverhampton and Reading for Hugill as well.

With Preston sitting in 9th place in the table, the club may yet want to keep hold of Hugill and make a run for the playoffs. However, with Hugill’s contract set to run out at the end of the season, Preston might be forced to sell.

Now, this all might be reading too much into the tea leaves, but it’s worth noting that under Victor Orta, Christiansen has said almost nothing in regards to transfer business. Next to nothing has been allowed to be said on the record by anyone, so this rather public statement of interest may be designed to test the strength of Preston’s resolve to hold on to Hugill.