LEEDS United and El-Hadji Diouf have rejected as “complete rubbish” fresh insistence from African club AS Kaloum that they are poised to sign the forward.
The bizarre claims – dismissed out of hand by Leeds who say Diouf will report as planned for pre-season training next month – intensified yesterday when Kaloum’s sporting director, Ali Toure, said the club had been given the chance to recruit the striker and “did not let that pass.”
Speculation surrounding Diouf and Kaloum began earlier in the week after their president, Boubah Sampil, told local media in Guinea that a four-month contract was agreed with the Whites’ Senegalese international.
Toure created fresh confusion in a radio interview, saying: “He’s a player that shows our ambitions.
“(Boubah Sampil) got the opportunity to hire El-Hadji Diouf and he did not let that pass so he is joining AS Kaloum.
“We expect El-Hadji Diouf to (be) El Hadji Diouf, meaning he’s a very talented player who has varied and sometimes chaotic trajectories but remains an excellent player.”
Diouf’s contract at Leeds – agreed in December – runs until June 2014, however, and the former Liverpool player is certain to be part of Brian McDermott’s plans for next season. He is presently in Africa for a summer break having flown to Senegal last week.
United made contact with Diouf to clarify Kaloum’s claims and 32-year-old said: “It’s complete rubbish. I have a contract with Leeds United, I’ll be back for pre-season training on June 27 and I’m looking forward to the new season.”
Diouf and Leeds drew up a close-season fitness plan prior to his departure to Senegal and he was allowed to leave England before United’s final Championship match at Watford after incurring a red card and two-game ban in their penultimate fixture against Brighton.
McDermott heavily criticised Diouf over the offensive gesture he made to Brighton’s fans during a 2-1 defeat at Elland Road on April 27 and fined him two weeks’ wages.
But the Leeds boss gave the forward his backing in the days that followed, saying: “What’s done is done and the thing about me is that when I make a decision, whatever it is, I won’t hark back to it.
“Diouf’s got so much talent. We’re just trying to harness the talent and help him.
“He should be getting attention when he’s got the ball because he does things other people cannot do.”
Former Liverpool striker Diouf signed an 18-month, £10,000-a-week contract from United shortly before Christmas, four months after joining them on a half-season deal.
He was without a club last summer following the conclusion of a spell at Doncaster Rovers and he rejected several offers from the Middle East to remain in England and play in the Championship with Leeds.
His appearances this season numbered 45 and yielded a total of seven goals.