United To Sacrifice El-Hadji Diouf?
By Kevin Markey
Updated Thursday, 15th August 2013
El-Hadji Diouf is to be made available for transfer by Leeds United as Brian McDermott bids to end his long wait for a fourth summer signing.
The YEP report that Diouf is the surprise inclusion in the group of players who Leeds will attempt to sacrifice before the transfer window closes in little over a fortnight’s time.
United also intend to invite approaches for midfielder David Norris and left-back Adam Drury.
The Whites have a surplus of central midfielders and left-sided defenders, and players in those areas became vulnerable after United’s board instructed McDermott to make cuts to their £15million wage bill.
Norris was not included in McDermott’s squad for Sunday’s goalless draw at Leicester City.
But Diouf, who has recovered from a shin infection and is in contention for Saturday’s Yorkshire derby against Sheffield Wednesday, would be an unexpected departure having earned regular votes of confidence from his manager.
McDermott is an admirer of Diouf’s but the Leeds boss is increasingly anxious to create space on the wage bill to allow for further signings ahead of the transfer deadline on September 2.
Diouf, 32, has a year to run on the 18-month deal he agreed in December 2012 – a contract worth upwards of £10,000 a week – and he is likely to generate significant interest having revived his career at Elland Road.
Speaking last night, McDermott refused to discuss specific names but he told the YEP: “If someone comes in for one of our players we’ll obviously listen to them and make our own judgements.”
Leeds have rejected multiple offers for Ross McCormack in the past month with McDermott repeatedly insisting that the striker is not for sale, despite Middlesbrough bidding twice and believing a deal to sign McCormack could be reached.
But United have not made a signing of their own since July 3 – six weeks ago – and McDermott’s need for progress is intensifying with the closure of the transfer window 17 days away.
A centre-back is one of his major priorities and interest in Brighton’s Gordon Greer fell flat over the weekend when Albion moved to hand the defender a new contract.
McDermott has been linked with Bolton Wanderers’ Matt Mills throughout the summer and Bolton remain willing to release him on a season-long loan but sources in the north west believe a deal for Manchester United youngster Scott Wootton is now more likely.
Diouf’s start to the new Championship season, meanwhile, was delayed by both a suspension and a virus contracted during his summer holiday in Africa.
He made his comeback in a behind-closed-doors friendly against Burnley last Tuesday and is bidding to feature in McDermott’s squad against Wednesday this weekend.