Early Leeds United January transfer rumour state of play as link re-emerges

Ethan Ampadu, Archie Gray and Pascal Struijk. Leeds United v Watford FC. SkyBet Championship. Elland Road Stadium Picture Bruce Rollinson 23 Septemer 2023.

A rumour linking Struijk with a January transfer to the Belgian club has re-emerged following similar reports during the summer window. The YEP understands, however, it is highly unlikely Leeds will part company with the central defender midway through their Championship campaign, owing to the Dutchman’s integral role in Daniel Farke’s side this season.

Struijk missed Leeds’ 2-1 win over Plymouth Argyle last weekend after undergoing hernia surgery, having played through the pain barrier for a portion of the 2023/24 season to date. A decision was taken by the player and club to have the procedure ahead of November’s international break in order to give the ex-Ajax youngster the best chance of returning in time for upcoming fixtures.

“He delivered good performances even though he had these problems for months, but after the last game it was too painful,” Farke told reporters earlier this month.

“With so many games coming up it was a smart solution to use the international break to have time to recover. I hope he doesn’t miss too many games and will be available.”

The 24-year-old had played every single available minute in Leeds’ Championship campaign prior to the win over the Pilgrims and on a number of occasions has worn the captain’s armband with skipper Liam Cooper and deputy Luke Ayling left on the bench by Farke.

Therefore, the likelihood of Leeds’ new ownership permitting a purported €15 million sale in the midst of the club’s promotion bid is highly improbable. Struijk is one of the team’s standout performers this season, returning to the sort of form which saw him called up to the Dutch national team’s preliminary squad for the first time 14 months ago.

Club Brugge were reportedly interested in the defender over the summer, but no official approach is understood to have been made to Leeds. Struijk, meanwhile, signed a new long-term contract 11 months ago which runs until 2027 and has made no indication he seeks to leave Elland Road.

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The Belgian club sold centre-back pair Abakar Sylla and Jack Hendry over the summer and currently sit seventh in the Pro League standings, outside the European qualification places. If the team were to finish in such a position, they would not participate in the end-of-season Championship Round which determines the league champion.

Head coach Ronny Deila is under pressure to guide the team above city rivals Cercle Brugge, back into the top four, although the Belgian side are on course to qualify from their UEFA Europa Conference League group in first place.

“He adapted well to my demands and he’s played a crucial part,” Farke said last week on Struijk’s start to the campaign.

“We don’t have to talk about his skills with the ball. I’m very pleased with his development,” the 47-year-old added.


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