Hull City head coach Marco Silva has provided a touch of transfer intrigue before the club's EFL Cup semi-final second-leg tie against Manchester United on Thursday night (26 January) by admitting his interest in signing much sought-after Genk winger Leon Bailey.
The 19-year-old Jamaican U23 international has been turning plenty of heads following a series of impressive performances in Belgium's Jupiler Pro League, with The Mail reporting last week that Liverpool, Chelsea, Everton and Bournemouth all retained an interest and were ready to make an offer now with European rivals Roma and Bayer Leverkusen prepared to submit bids in the region of £20m ($25.1m).
The 19th-place Tigers have already added Evandro, Oumar Niasse, Omar Elabdellaoui and Lazar Markovic to their thin squad this month to assist in the fight against relegation, but further new arrivals are expected with influential midfielder Jake Livermore having exited for West Bromwich Albion last week and serious doubts still surrounding the future of Robert Snodgrass.
"We'll try," Silva told reporters during his pre-Manchester United press conference when asked if Bailey was indeed a transfer target for Hull. "It's not an easy deal, but we'll try. Until now, we don't have news."
When asked if that would be a loan or a permanent deal, he added: "We'll see. It's not an easy deal, but we'll try."
Silva would not be drawn on supposed interest in versatile full-back Andy Robertson, but did express hope that Snodgrass would remain a Hull player beyond next week's transfer deadline. The club's top scorer, who supposedly turned down big-money moves to China and Turkey earlier in the window, has been persistently linked with West Ham United and Middlesbrough of late and Hull are now believed to have accepted a £10m offer from Burnley.
Neither Snodgrass (muscle) nor centre-back Curtis Davies (hamstring) will be fit for Thursday as Hull attempt to overturn a 2-0 first-leg deficit against Jose Mourinho's United at the KCOM Stadium. Midfielder Ryan Mason is said to be making "excellent progress" after undergoing surgery on a fractured skull suffered during an accidental clash of heads with Gary Cahill during the 2-0 defeat to Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.
"At this moment we need to forget everything," Silva said. "The most important [thing] is the player and his family, the other things are not important."