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According to reports from The Sun (h/t Huddersfield Examiner), there are clouds hovering over the future of Bournemouth attacker Max Gradel. The Ivory Coast international has hardly played for the Cherries this term and is reportedly going to hold talks with the club over his future with the team.
The report also claims that Gradel’s former club, Leeds United are willing to rescue him from his nightmare at the Vitality Stadium, but only if they manage to seal a promotion back to the Premier League at the end of this season.
The 29-year old joined the Cherries from French side Saint-Etienne back in the summer of 2015 for a fee reported to be in the range of £7 million and had a decent start to life in the Premier League, before a serious knee injury put a halt to his campaign. As a result, Gradel was just limited to 14 Premier League appearances over the course of the 2015-16 season, in which he could muster up a single goal and 2 assists.
His situation has gotten much worse this term. The Ivorian, despite being completely fit, has made just 7 league appearances, all of which have been from the bench and 2 more in the EFL Cup. Post his return from the Africa Cup of Nations where he represented Ivory Coast, Gradel has featured just for a meagre 3 minutes, making his situation at the club almost untenable.
It is not surprising that the player is considering an exit, despite having signed a new four-year contract with the club in July last year. Leeds are planning to swoop in for the player, who had represented them between 2009 and 2011, before being sold to Saint-Etienne.
During his two years with the Whites, Gradel made a total of 85 appearances, in which he managed to notch up 25 goals and 13 assists, and played an important role in Leeds getting promoted to the Championship in 2009-10 season.
Leeds find themselves at 5th place in the Championship standings and look good for participation in the playoffs for the promotion to the Premier League. If they manage to achieve that, they intend to bring Gradel back to the Elland Road.
The Whites have plenty of options in the wide areas, with Hadi Sacko, Alfonso Pedraza Sag, Stuart Dallas and Modou Barrow all available for Garry Mon to choose from.
However, Sacko who is with Leeds, on loan from Portuguese club Sporting CP, has been far from impressive and has been on the receiving end of some serious criticism from the fans due to his ineffective displays. It looks highly unlikely that the Yorkshire based club would keep him beyond this season.
Meanwhile, Barrow – another loan signing, who arrived in January from Swansea City, is yet to make a single start for the club and so far hasn’t been able to convince Monk that he deserves a starting role. Thus a permanent deal for him looks like an unlikely prospect too.
This could leave Leeds light on numbers in the wide areas and hence a move for a pacey wide player like Gradel, who has proved his quality, makes perfect sense for the club. A chance to return to his old stomping grounds, will surely appeal to the Ivorian as well.
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