LEEDS United striker Matt Smith has emerged as a major target for Millwall after the Bermondsey club failed with an initial bid for him.
Millwall are understood to have submitted an offer for Smith late last month after including the 25-year-old forward on their list of targets for the summer transfer window.
Millwall’s board had planned to discuss Smith’s availability with Leeds at the Football League’s AGM in Portugal on June 5 but Leeds were unrepresented at the gathering after owner Massimo Cellino pulled out of the trip at short notice.
A formal bid is believed to have been made for the ex-Oldham Athletic striker before United’s squad returned for pre-season training on June 26 and Millwall are expected to present Leeds with an improved offer in the hope of securing Smith’s signature before the two clubs meet at the New Den on the first day of the new Championship season.
Smith has 12 months left on his contract at Elland Road but is yet to negotiate an extension with Leeds, despite finishing the 2013-14 term as the club’s second highest scorer with 13 goals.
Millwall are confident of forcing through the transfer but Smith would command a sizeable six-figure fee and United have already seen their forward line depleted this week by the sale of 29-goal captain Ross McCormack to Fulham for £11m.
Cellino said McCormack’s departure – a sale which the Italian claimed was against his wishes – would force Leeds to recruit another striker, and the club are close to finalising a deal for 22-year-old Catania player Souleymane Doukara.
United aim to seal the signing of 6’1” Doukara before the end of this week but Millwall’s approach for Smith was rejected out of hand last month and United are not thought to have encouraged a second approach.
Smith, who joined Leeds from Oldham a year ago, spoke about his future in March, saying: “I’ve really enjoyed my time here and if anyone gets offered a long-term contract at a club like Leeds, they’d be overjoyed.
“The thought has crossed my mind and I’d like to put in the performances which might warrant looking into that.”
Smith is on tour with United’s first-team squad in Italy and is due to play in a friendly against local side Gherdeina tonight, Leeds’ first game of the summer.
The club have announced their final pre-season match and their only home friendly, with Dundee United due at Elland Road on Saturday,