Warnock hails Kenny as ‘one of best goalkeepers in the country’ after landing top summer target

Leeds manager Neil Warnock welcomes Paddy Kenny.  Photo: Andrew Varley
Leeds manager Neil Warnock welcomes Paddy Kenny. Photo: Andrew Varley
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EBULLIENT Leeds United boss Neil Warnock has hailed the signing of goalkeeper Paddy Kenny as the best he will make in his time at Elland Road.

Kenny’s protracted move from Queens Park Rangers was finally completed yesterday in a deal worth around £500,000.

It sees him link up for a fourth time in his career with Warnock, who is looking to recruit another of his former players, ex-Sheffield United and Leeds striker Andy Gray.

Gray is a free agent after leaving Barnsley and Leeds’s boss is ready to hijack Bradford City’s bid to sign him by bringing him in as forward cover; his striking options are currently limited.

Halifax-born Kenny’s switch back to his Yorkshire roots sees him join the club he supported as a boy, and Warnock is delighted to have finally landed his chief summer target after pursuing him for several months.

Thrity-four-year-old Kenny has joined on a three-year-deal, and Leeds’s manager said: “I don’t think you can keep secrets at Leeds United. Somebody knows everything.

“We’ve worked very hard with this one. It’s taken some time to get over the line, but I think he’s the most important signing I’ll make while I’m at Leeds United. I rate him that highly, and I think the fans will see why.

“I didn’t think we’d be able to get him. There’s no way I would have let him go. I wouldn’t have swapped him for anybody they have on their books.

“I think he’s a great goalkeeper. He’s one of the best in the country, not just the Championship.

“We are delighted to get him. He’s a northern lad, he knows what a pull Leeds is and he knows all about it.

“We’ve had our moments over the years, but we respect each other and that’s why he has always been the main man I’ve wanted to sign.

“We’ve had to put others on hold, because I wanted to get this one over the line.”

Kenny, promoted twice to the Premier League under Warnock, with the Blades in 2005-06 and QPR in 2010-11, added: “He (Warnock) knows what he’ll get from me and I know what I’ll get from him, and as soon as I had the opportunity to come here I was delighted to take him up on it.

“His record at this level and for promotions speaks for itself, and with the players he’s looking to bring in and those he’ll get I’m sure we’ll be pushing up there.”

With United’s takeover understood to be close to completion – reports suggest the man heading a Middle Eastern consortium is lifelong Whites fan Shaikh Abdulrahman bin Mubarak Al-Khalifa – Warnock could be handed a boost in his bid to make serious progress on the transfer front shortly.

Bahrain-based Al-Khalifa was famously part of a consortium which failed to take control at Elland Road in 2003, but has kept abreast of developments at the club he has supported since 1970.

Warnock is keen to push through a number of deals, including signing Portsmouth pair Luke Varney and David Norris, and Leicester City full-back Lee Peltier.

According to sources in Leicester, Peltier’s move could finally be completed in the next few days, with Warnock keen to bolster his squad further before the club head to Cornwall for the start of their pre-season tour later this month.

Warnock added: “We’re looking all over the place. Every area, we’re looking to bring other players in. I’ll move on to my next main target now and see if we can secure him over the next few days and the squad will take shape towards the kick-off.”