Leeds-linked Rutter sidelined by Hoffenheim due to transfer speculation

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Hoffenheim have temporarily removed Georginio Rutter from their first-team environment due to speculation over a transfer to Leeds United causing him to become "preoccupied".

Rutter has reportedly emerged as a primary target of the Premier League side, who are supposedly ready to part with £26.5million (€30m) to bring the 20-year-old to Elland Road.

Media speculation suggests he has already agreed personal terms with Leeds, who are keen to bolster their attacking options in their bid to avoid relegation – they are only two points above the bottom three.

Rutter, a France Under-21 international, joined Hoffenheim from Rennes at the start of February 2021 for a fee said to be around €500,000, and although still raw, has since gone on to show real promise in the Bundesliga.

But Hoffenheim have taken the decision to sideline him from first-team operations, which includes him sitting out training and Monday's friendly against Servette.

"For the time being, Georginio Rutter will not take part at all in training or in the friendly match against Servette," a club statement read.

"Since yesterday [Friday], there have been rumours circulating of a move to the Premier League for the Frenchman."

The club's director of football, Alexander Rosen, added: "Georgi has been confronted with a major issue that is taking a lot of his energy.

"He is a young man and it is therefore understandable that he is preoccupied by the current situation.

"From our side, it is a case of dealing with a young man in a responsible manner and for that reason, we have decided that he should not participate in full training with the first team right now."