Leeds United's hopes of signing two more Premier League players on loan in January look to be all but over. Aston Villa midfielder Jack Grealish and out-of-favour Stoke striker Peter Crouch were both believed to be on the Championship club's radar, yet manager Steve Evans has seemingly been informed that neither player is available.
Widely regarded as one of English football's brightest young talents, 20-year-old Grealish established a promising reputation under former boss Tim Sherwood but was banished to train with Villa's U21s by Remi Garde back in November 2015 after claims he had visited a nightclub following the heavy defeat at Everton. He has since returned to the first-team squad and made his first start in three months on 2 January as the top-flight's bottom club lost 3-1 to relegation rivals Sunderland.
Crouch, meanwhile, has made just seven appearances in all competitions for Stoke this term amid fierce competition for places at the Britannia Stadium. The former England international missed nearly all of December with a hamstring injury, yet even when fit he has chiefly been utilised as a substitute with Mark Hughes tending to opt for Bojan Krkic as his central striker in an interchangeable front three alongside Xherdan Shaqiri and Marko Arnautovic. Mame Biram Diouf, Jonathan Walters and Joselu are among his other forward options.
While it has been far from plain sailing for both of those players in the 2015-16 season, it is hugely unlikely either will be heading to Leeds during the current transfer window. Speaking at a press conference held prior to the club's FA Cup third-round tie against local rivals Rotherham, Evans was quoted as saying by Radio Yorkshire: "My understanding is that Crouch and Grealish are not available at this time."
Leeds completed their first deal of the January window by renewing the loan of Sunderland midfielder Liam Bridcutt until the end of the season. The Whites have also been repeatedly linked with a swoop for Norwich outcast Kyle Lafferty, although Evans claims that the deal has reached something of an impasse.
"We want it to be a loan deal with the option of a permanent," he told the Yorkshire Evening Post. "Norwich City have respectfully said that they want it to be on a permanent. We're not going to be doing it on a permanent initially.
"We want to be able, if it's possible, to bring the player here but that's proving very difficult. If it proves not to be the case then we're not only thinking of Kyle Lafferty, there are other players we're looking at. It's not Kyle Lafferty or nobody. There are other options. If we take another option then the Kyle Lafferty interest will suddenly drop off."
In terms of potential outgoings, Evans reiterated owner Massimo Cellino's stance that Lewis Cook was categorically not for sale despite reported interest from Bournemouth. He further revealed Leeds have rejected two overseas offers for centre-back Giuseppe Bellusci, who Sky Sport Italia claim is a target for Serie A strugglers Hellas Verona.