Aston Villa and Sheffield United have been dealt a blow in their pursuit of wantaway Leicester City forward Leonardo Ulloa, with the Foxes unwilling to sell the 31 year old unless they find a replacement.
According to reports from the Daily Mail, Claude Puel is keen to keep the Argentinian on the books, despite considerable interest from Championship sides Villa and United. The striker has been unsettled for a while now, and is seeking improved game time elsewhere, with only 12 minutes of Premier League action accrued this season.
Having signed a new deal at the Foxes in August this year, Ulloa had been hoping for a reversal in his fortunes, after limited opportunities in the last campaign. However, such hopes of reviving his career at the King Power seem inconceivable, leading to rumours of a possible move to the Championship.
Aston Villa emerged as the main candidates, with the Blades also putting themselves forward. The villains are in the market for a striker on account of the recent ankle injury to Jonathan Kodjia, and Ulloa has become their primary target.
With the two clubs currently residing in fifth and sixth respectively, and only separated by goal difference, the acquisition of the Argentinian could make or break their seasons, as they both push for promotion to the Premier League in 2018.
With a point to prove, and an impressive record of 23 goals in 50 games in the second tier with Brighton, Ulloa is the perfect target.
While this news will come as a blow to both sides, their chances of signing the forward should not be ruled out, considering the twists and turns that inhabit every January transfer window.