Leeds United have rejected Newcastle United’s approach for top scorer Ross McCormack.
Owner Massimo Cellino claimed last night that a firm offer from Newcastle – made to Leeds at the beginning of this week – had been turned down, saying McCormack was “happy to stay” after talks between them on Monday.
Newcastle are bidding to buy three strikers before the start of next season and intend to sign one from the English leagues.
The Premier League club have been in touch with Burnley about Danny Ings – the player who beat McCormack to the Championship’s player-of-the-year award in April – and made an enquiry about McCormack as the Scotland international and United’s other players were preparing to meet Cellino face-to-face at Elland Road on Monday afternoon.
Newcastle’s valuation has been described as “substantial” but Cellino is believed to favour the option of retaining McCormack on the back of his 29 goals for the club this season, despite the money his sale would raise.
Cellino said: “Newcastle made an offer for McCormack and I said no. He is happy to stay here and that made me proud.”
McCormack is protected by a long contract, running to the summer of 2017, and Leeds are thought to value him in the region of £6million.
The club do not intend to discuss a new deal with him, however, having handed McCormack a four-year contract last August and made him one of their higher earners.
West Ham United and Cardiff City bid for McCormack unsuccessfully in January and West Ham are expected to make another offer during the current transfer window.
It is not clear if Newcastle will now step up their pursuit of McCormack having identified other British-based alternatives.