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Leeds United target Jonathan David was left out of Gent’s pre-season clash with Metz on Tuesday because the striker was ‘mentally not ready’, coach Jess Thorup tells Het Laaste Nieuws.

While almost every club in the Premier League has been sending scouts to watch this Brookyln-born Canada international since the turn of the year, it is a top-flight newcomer who appear to be in pole position as it stands.

Gent president Ivan de Witte told De Zondag last week that Leeds are interested in taking one of the hottest young forwards in Europe to Elland Road as they prepare for their first top-flight campaign in 16 years.

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The Mail, meanwhile, claim that the West Yorkshire giants have made a better offer than the one on the table from Lille for the £27 million-rated forward.

And with David nowhere to be seen as Gent took on Metz in midweek, it seems his absence was not merely a coincidence.

“I had a long conversation with Jonathan beforehand,” said coach Thorup. “We all know that something is going on. There is no decision yet, but as a coach I would like to know where we stand. 

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“Mentally he was not ready now, because there are many things going on.”

Interestingly, Thorup suggested that David, a la Lyle Taylor or Ryan Fraser, was concerned about picking up a serious injury which could wreck his hopes of sealing a big-money move abroad during the transfer window.

The 20-year-old produced 23 goals and ten assists in 2019/20, though it remains to be seen if he can make the step up from Belgian football to the Premier League.

As Aston Villa fans will tell you, after watching Wesley, Mbwana Samatta and Marvelous Nakamba toil in claret and blue, that is easier said than done.

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In other news, Confirmed Chelsea v Liverpool lineups: Two Reds absences explained, Thiago on the bench