Diouf and Norris could depart to reduce £15m wage bill at Leeds

El-Hadji Diouf.
El-Hadji Diouf.
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El-Hadji Diouf is to be made available for transfer by Leeds United as manager Brian McDermott bids to end his long wait for a fourth summer signing.

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.

It is understood, United also intend to invite approaches for midfielder David Norris – who came close to joining Sheffield Wednesday last year before opting for Leeds – and left-back Adam Drury.

The Elland Road club 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 £15m 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 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. “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.

McDermott has been linked with Bolton Wanderers’ Matt Mills throughout the summer.