JEAN-CHRISTOPHE VERHAEGEN/AFP via Getty Images

Habib Diallo is fully aware that he is free to leave Metz this summer, Ligue 1 president Bernard Serin has told Direct FM of the Leeds United and Leicester City linked goal-scorer.

Like it or not Leeds fans, Patrick Bamford remains Marcelo Bielsa’s go-to number nine. The £7 million striker might be one of the most divisive footballers in recent Elland Road history but, even if consistency remains elusive, the legendary tactician is a firm admirer of his relentless work ethic.

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If a deal for Diallo can be completed, Bamford will finally have some much-needed competition for that number nine shirt.

The 6ft 1ins Senegal international saved Metz from relegation with 12 goals in 26 games during a superb 2019/20 campaign but, with most clubs in France facing up to a summer of cost-cutting, Diallo already appears to have one foot out the door.

Metz president Serin has already admitted that he will listen to offers for the star striker and, speaking on Wednesday, he has made it clear that the man himself knows that his time at the club is over.

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“Habib knows it (that he can go). He has a release certificate,” Serin explains.

LeFoot reports that Leeds have identified Diallo, who was valued at £18 million before the global health crisis thrust us into a period of unprecedented financial uncertainty; meaning a deal is only possible if Bielsa succeeds in bringing Premier League football back to Elland Road.

The same publication suggests that Leicester see the rangy African as a potential long-term successor for the evergreen but ageing Jamie Vardy at the King Power. Diallo may be a taller, more physical presence than the long-serving Englishman, but he is more of a penalty-box poacher than an old-school targetman.

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In other news, Report: Leeds player who hasn't played for them since 2018 on verge of exit; talks underway