For Leeds, their pursuit of Rangers star Ryan Kent in last summer’s transfer window was one of their longest running sagas as they made their return back to the Premier League.
Reports back in August had suggested that Marcelo Bielsa’s side had a bid rejected for the winger by the Ibrox outfit, with Steven Gerrard later confirming that was the case.
He said: “The message for sure is ‘hands off’. Ryan is a player we admire very much here. He’s a player we’ve seen develop at Liverpool for a long time then brought him here and he did ever so well on loan.
“But yes we have had contact from Leeds and an opening bid has been really strongly rejected. They are way, way off with that opening bid. But you know that Premier League teams hold a lot of power and that’s the reality. We have to accept that.”
And later, Victor Orta would confirm the Whites’ approach for the 24-year-old.
Speaking to The Yorkshire Evening Post, Orta admitted: “I think (Kent’s) club doesn’t want to sell him. We tried and we believe clearly Glasgow Rangers doesn’t want the player to leave. It was never their plan to put Kent in the market.
“People were intelligent to try and divide the payment terms which is really important for cash flow, the day by day. We all understood the rules of the market. If you are going to be strict with payment terms, perhaps you don’t sell anyone.”
Since then, Kent has just gone from strength to strength and really showcased why Leeds had a howler in not getting a deal over the line. In 47 games across all competitions this season, the winger has managed a whopping 12 goals and 13 assists, playing a pivotal role in Rangers’ Scottish Premiership triumph over Celtic.
It’s no surprise then that he’s earned some rave reviews for his performances, not least from teammate Conor Goldson, who dubbed him as “magnificent” and said: “He has got a lot of ability. (He is) 24-years-old, two-footed. It is not nice when he runs at you, I can tell you that personally from training. He has got everything.”
With suggestions that not only did Leeds want him last summer, but they were also keen on him before he actually joined Rangers in the first place, Bielsa would surely have been fuming that Orta couldn’t pull a deal off for a player who he’s wanted for such a long time now.
Kent’s displays this campaign have just further rubbed salt into the wounds.