Agard rejects new Millers contract and woos Leeds instead

Rotherham's Kieran Agard.
Rotherham's Kieran Agard.
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FORWARD Kieran Agard has invited Leeds United to bid for his signature by turning down the offer of a long-term contract at Rotherham United.

Agard, who was watched by Leeds owner Massimo Cellino towards the end of last season, has rejected the chance to commit his future to Rotherham after recent talks about an improved deal.

The 24-year-old, who was Rotherham’s top scorer last season with 26 goals, is tied to the South Yorkshire side for another 12 months after the Millers exercised an option to extend a contract which was due to expire at the end of June.

Agard is training with Steve Evans’ squad in preparation for the new Championship term and Evans has stressed throughout the summer that his leading players will not be sold but Agard’s reluctance to take up Rotherham’s lengthy contract offer has alerted other Championship clubs.

Agard’s agent, Lee Payne of Full Contact, said: “We can confirm that Kieran has rejected Rotherham’s offer of a contract extension.”

Leeds took a keen interest in Agard towards the end of last season, scouting him several times as Rotherham closed in on promotion from League One.

Cellino attended the second leg of their play-off semi-final victory over Preston North End - a match in which Agard scored - but United have focused their recent attention on tying down a series of European transfer targets.

The club made Reading goalkeeper Stuart Taylor their first summer signing last week but have since taken fellow keeper Marco Silvestri on a four-year deal from Chievo.

Sassuolo midfielder Tommaso Bianchi, a former Italy Under-21 international, has agreed a three-year contract at Elland Road and United are close to securing the signatures of Sassuolo defender Jonathan Rossini and Catania’s French forward, Souleymane Doukara.

United are also being heavily linked with Daniele Cacia, a striker at Verona, and Catania defender Giuseppe Bellusci.

Nicola Salerno - Cagliari’s director of football during the latter stages of Cellino time as owner of the Sardinian club - has been present at United’s pre-season training camp in Italy this week and is actively working on incoming deals.

Leeds are in the market for new forwards after selling captain Ross McCormack to Fulham for £11m on Tuesday and they are attempting to ward off interest from Millwall in Matt Smith.

An initial bid from Millwall for Smith was rejected by United late last month.

• Hull City have announced goalkeeper Eldin Jakupovic has signed a new two-year deal with the club.

The 29-year-old, who joined the Tigers in 2012 after leaving Greek side Aris Thessaloniki, had reached the end of his previous contract this summer.

He has made 10 appearances for Hull and spent time on loan at Leyton Orient last season.

Jakupovic has been capped at Under-21 level by both Bosnia-Herzegovina and Switzerland and has one senior cap for the latter nation.

Doncaster Rovers captain Rob Jones is back in training after nine months out following a serious neck injury.

“I’m just delighted to be back and involved with the group,” said Jones.

“It’s been a long time since I’ve been with the group so it’s good for me but I’ve got a few more weeks to wait before I’m fully ready but hopefully that will come quickly so we can get on with things.

“I think three months is the most I’ve been out; it’s now been eight or nine months and it’s very lonely but thanks to the gaffer I’ve taken myself away from it.”

Burnley midfielder Scott Arfield has signed a new three-year contract with the club.

The 25-year-old Scot, who had one year left on his remaining deal, has extended his stay at Turf Moor until the summer of 2017 after helping Burnley win promotion to the Barclays Premier League last season.

Belgium striker Divock Origi has held talks with Liverpool over a proposed move to Anfield but a deal still remains some way off.

The 19-year-old, who impressed at the World Cup, met with Reds officials yesterday.