Leeds United and Crystal Palace after reportedly 'battling' to sign Preston North End forward Jordan Hugill, who was omitted from his side's 3-0 win over Nottingham Forest on Tuesday (30 January) due to speculation surrounding his future.
Hugill has been of interest to Thomas Christiansen's side throughout January and was the subject of an £8m bid from the Whites earlier this month, but Preston saw fit to reject their proposal as it did not meet their £10m valuation.
Leeds have already completed the signing of young forward Tyler Roberts from West Bromwich Albion, but the Daily Mail report that the Yorkshire outfit are still vying with Palace for Hugill, who has plundered 10 goals in 29 appearances for Alex Neil's side this season. Along with Leeds and Palace, Reading have also been credited with an interest in the former Gateshead loanee, but the Royals are poised to sign Chris Martin on loan from high-flying Derby County.
Preston coped well without their bustling forward as they put Aitor Karanka's side to the sword, but Neil thought he had little choice but to exclude Hugill from his match-day squad after he learned of Palace's interest.
"I didn't think Jordan was in the right frame of mind," Neil said. "There's interest from a team in the Premier League and as of now we have rejected any offer that has been made."
It remains to be seen if Leeds or Palace can tempt Preston into selling Hugill in the closing hours of the transfer window, though Roy Hodgson's side are also looking to do a deal for Midtjylland's Alexander Sorloth.
News of Palace's desire to bring in a new forward may not be music to the ears of current first-choice forward Christian Benteke, but the Belgium international, who has scored just twice all season, is relishing the competition a new striking addition would provide and insists he is ready to fight to start under Hodgson, who has little to choose from in the striking department as it stands.
"I think it's fair from them (the management to look to bring someone in)," Benteke said. "I am ready to fight for my place, and hopefully if they can bring another quality player in, it will be more than welcome."