Leeds already eyeing January Hwang Hee-chan move: Reports
Leeds United are reportedly already preparing to bid for Wolverhampton Wanderers midfielder Hwang Hee-chan for the January transfer window, having missed out on a chance to pick up the Korean forward over the summer.
Wolves reportedly turned down a £17 million ($20 million) offer for Hwang a day before the transfer window closed, ensuring the struggling Korean midfielder stays with the club for the foreseeable future.
Hwang, who was on loan with Wolves last season, signed a four-year contract with the club in January that officially went into effect this summer, said to be valued at between £11.9 million and £14 million ($19 million and $22 million).
But Hwang has also been struggling in front of goal with the midlands club. He has failed to score for Wolves for 19 games, 18 in the Premier League. He last found the back of the net on Feb. 24, scoring his fifth goal of his debut Premier League season against Arsenal.
Hwang's ongoing struggle has seen him gradually slip from starting XI to the back of the bench, with manager Bruno Lage not even calling on the Korean as a substitute during last week's 0-0 draw with Bournemouth.
Leeds United emerged as a possible transfer contender near the end of the transfer window as manager Jesse Marsch made it clear he was interested in being reunited with Hwang.
Marsch was appointed as manager of Red Bull Salzburg in 2019, leading the team to win the double in his first season. Hwang was one of the three stars of Marsch's attacking line, alongside Erling Haaland, now at Manchester City, and Takumi Minamino of Monaco.
Hwang scored 11 goals in the Austrian Bundesliga that season and picked up 12 assists. He also scored three Champions League goals with five assists, an OFB Cup goal with five assists and a Europa League goal.
Leeds reportedly offered Wolves £17 million earlier this week in a bid to bring Hwang back under Marsch's leadership and potentially bring back some of that 2019 form. The deal was rejected, with Wolves manager Bruno Lage maintaining that Hwang is an important part of his squad.
But some reports suggest there are more economic reasons that Wolves rejected the deal — possibly because Leeds were looking a loan-to-buy deal and Wolves want an immediate sale.
Football pundit Dean Jones, a popular transfer analyst, said Monday that Leeds are still interested in Hwang and are looking to return to a possible deal when the transfer window opens on Jan. 1. A lot could happen in the meantime, however, with the 2022 Qatar World Cup set to kick off in November.
Wolves will be back in action next Saturday as they face Liverpool on the road at Anfield.
BY JIM BULLEY [email@example.com]