Photo by Harry Langer/DeFodi Images via Getty Images

Leeds United have been warned that a deal to sign Nicolas Gonzalez will be ‘really expensive’, with Stuttgart director Thomas Hitzlsperger telling Tag24 that the striker will not leave on the cheap.

After firing one of the biggest clubs in German football back into the Bundesliga with 15 goals in the second-tier, the Argentina international left no one in the dark when discussing his future plans back in June.

Speaking to Tuttomercatoweb, Gonzalez made it clear that he wanted a fresh start away from the Mercedes Benz Arena.

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“I’ve talked to the club who are already informed. I’ve decided: I want a new experience, fresh air. I’ll leave Stuttgart,” he said.

With Marcelo Bielsa looking to ease the goal-scoring burden on the divisive Patrick Bamford, Gonzalez could soon be tasked with justifying comparisons to the legendary Mario Kempes in West Yorkshire.

But, according to Hitzlsperger, Leeds owner Andrea Radrizzani will have little choice but to put his money where his mouth is with the 22-year-old forward expected to cost a rather pricey fee.

Photo by Harry Langer/DeFodi Images via Getty Images

“If we decide to sell him, then it has to be really expensive,” says the former Aston Villa and West Ham midfielder.

“If you lose quality, then you have to adequately replace it.”

Tag24 reported last month that Stuttgart, the 2004 Bundesliga champions, are looking for around £18 million – a fee that would exceed the price Leeds paid to sign Helder Costa on a permanent basis from Wolverhampton Wanderers.

But if Gonzalez scores the goals to establish Bielsa’s free-flowing side in the Premier League after 16 years away from the Big Time, then he will be worth every single penny.

Photo by Christian Kaspar-Bartke/Getty Images

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