‘Major issue’ sees Hoffenheim respond to Georginio Rutter to Leeds as Phil Hay names likely loan move for Joe Gelhardt

Georginio Rutter celebrating goal. The match of Bundesliga FC Bayer 04 Leverkusen vs TSG 1899 Hoffenheim Credit: Alamy
Georginio Rutter celebrating goal. The match of Bundesliga FC Bayer 04 Leverkusen vs TSG 1899 Hoffenheim Credit: Alamy

Hoffenheim have suggested that Georginio Rutter is closing on a move to Leeds United by removing the forward from first-team training.

The French attacker is being strongly linked with a move to Elland Road this month in a deal that could shatter their transfer record. Indeed, the Whites have seen an opening £26.5m bid rejected by the Bundesliga side.

However, three top sources in Florian Pellenberg, Fabrizio Romano and Phil Hay have confirmed that talks over a move are continuing. Leeds’ current transfer record sits at £27m for Rodrigo, but the deal for Rutter is likely to top that.

And all being well, the 20-year-old, who plays almost exclusively as a centre forward, will be finalised this week. Indeed, talks over his transfer are progressing rapidly. Romano claims Leeds have already agreed personal terms for his signature.

And that means the two clubs only have to settle on a transfer fee and payment arrangements. Following that, Rutter will then undergo a medical with the final fee set to reach as much as £35.2m (€40m).

Revealing that a transfer is progressing, Hoffenheim have confirmed that Rutter has been removed from first-team training.

His club are currently in Portugal for a training camp and are scheduled to play Servette on Monday.

A club statement said: “For the time being, Georginio Rutter will not take part at all in training or in the friendly match against Servette. Since Saturday, there have been rumours circulating of a move to the Premier League for the Frenchman.”

Georginio Rutter to Leeds gathering pace

Hoffenheim’s sporting director Alexander Rosen admits the player has been taken out the firing line for his own good.

“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,” said Rosen.

“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.”

Rosen suggests Leeds are not the only side looking to snatch the player, adding: “Obviously there has been tremendous interest in such a talented player not only since yesterday [Saturday],” he said.

“You don’t have to be an expert to know this. There is currently more than one club that is trying hard to get the player. Ultimately we have to decide what is best for TSG Hoffenheim under the given circumstances.

“But it is also important to include the thoughts of Georginio and those around him, because after all we are not talking about a piece of furniture here, but about the future of a young person.”

Joe Gelhardt likely to leave if Rutter signs

The capture of Rutter will likely result in young forward Joe Gelhardt heading out the exit door at Elland Road.

The 20-year-old is rated highly by Leeds but has found first-team opportunities hard to come by this season. Indeed, while he has featured 17 times this season, 13 of those have been off the bench. And he has just one Premier League start to his name all season.

And with Rutter expected to sign, Leeds have been flooded with enquiries over Gelhardt’s services.

As a result, Leeds will likely listen to loan enquiries for the young forward.

And Leeds United authority, Phil Hay, says these have come from the Championship. And The Athletic journalist has revealed his most likely next club.

“Leeds, meanwhile, are understood to have received significant amounts of Championship interest in Joe Gelhardt, a forward whose already limited game-time might be compromised by the arrival of a new face at Elland Road. Swansea City are among Gelhardt’s admirers,” he wrote in The Athletic.

“United have not made Gelhardt available as yet but the acquisition of Rutter or another striker could prompt discussions about whether Gelhardt will be allowed to consider temporary offers as a way of securing more regular first-team football.

“Leeds continue to see him as a major part of their long-term future and tied the 20-year-old to a deal to 2027 last year.”

Gelhardt has one assist to his name this season. However, a loan move to the Championship would do the player some good. His progress has stalled this season under Jesse Marsch and needs more football to help develop his game.

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