Sunderland have been dealt a knockout blow in their bid to bring Charlie Cresswell to the Stadium of Light this summer.
That’s according to a claim made by Ross Heppenstall, with the Sunday People journalist revealing in a post on Twitter that Leeds United have rejected Sunderland’s advances for the centre-back, with Kyril Louis-Dreyfus believed to have attempted to sign the 18-year-old on a season-long loan.
Heppenstall added that Marcelo Bielsa’s side wish for the defender to continue his development at Elland Road and are preparing to offer the England under-19 a new contract to extend his stay at the club.
In his post, the journalist said: “Leeds have knocked back an offer from Sunderland to take Under-23s captain Charlie Cresswell on loan. Also plenty of Championship interest. Leeds want the defender to continue developing at Elland Road and are set to offer him a new deal too.”
With the new League One season kicking off in just a matter of days, and the Black Cats still lacking considerable depth in the heart of defence – particularly as Bailey Wright is being heavily linked with a move away from the Stadium of Light and Arbenit Xhemajli remains out injured – reports that the club appear to have failed in their attempts to land the loan signing of Cresswell is sure to have left Lee Johnson fuming.
Indeed, despite having made just one senior appearance for Leeds, the centre-back is a player who seems to boast a considerable amount of potential.
The £180k-rated defender captained the Whites’ under-23 side to the Premier League 2 title last season, scoring two goals over his 21 appearances in the competition, as well as playing the full 90 minutes in the first team’s Carabao Cup clash with Hull City.
After pictures emerged of the 18-year-old in pre-season training with the Premier League side, Noel Whelan claimed that it is clear the youngster is putting in the effort in order to progress as quickly as possible.
He said: “From the pictures, you can see he’s put in a lot of work, a lot of effort. He’s taking his role at the club very seriously about pushing Koch, Cooper, Llorente and Struijk. That’s good to see. I want to see that from young players.”
The former United striker continued: “When [he] played last season in the EFL Cup game he was fantastic. He was a standout and he’s definitely one [for] the future.
“When you look at him now in stature, he doesn’t look like he’d be fazed coming up against any bigger centre-forwards. He is an absolute beast.”
As such, the addition of Cresswell would very much seem to have been something of a coup for Johnson and Sunderland. However, with Leeds seeming adamant that the centre-back will be staying at Elland Road this season, Louis-Dreyfus will now have to turn his attention in the transfer market elsewhere, something which will come as a blow for the club’s owner as well as Johnson.