Will Leeds takeover delay hit January transfers? No, insists club

Marius Zaliukas

Marius Zaliukas

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THE consortium bidding to take over Leeds United insists the club’s transfer dealings in January will not be hampered by a slight delay in the proposed deal going through after revealing the group has ploughed £6m into the Championship club this season.

Current managing director David Haigh, a key figure in the buyout of Ken Bates by Dubai-based firm GFH Capital a little over a year ago, is leading the attempts to buy a 75 per cent stake.

After signing a share acquisition with GFH-C in late November, Haigh’s group had been hoping the buyout would go through during the first week of 2014.

That deadline, however, has now been extended until the middle of the month following a request from the Football League, who must approve any change of ownership, for more information.

The necessary paperwork has since been submitted by the four-man consortium, which includes Andrew Flowers, the managing director of current shirt sponsors Enterprise Insurance.

A further complication has come courtesy of several key members of the group’s legal team being on holiday through the Christmas and New Year period.

Despite the hold-ups, a source close to the prospective new owners insists the deal is almost done and that Brian McDermott’s plans in the transfer window have not been affected in any way.

After revealing that Haigh’s group has ploughed in £6m since first making their interest known to GFH-C, the source told the Yorkshire Post: “The Football League has requested additional documentation, which has been supplied.

“This is an on-going process. They (Haigh’s consortium) are working towards a conclusion, but it won’t affect the January transfer window. As Brian has already said, the new investors will be fully supporting him in January.”

United fans, concerned after a festive season that yielded just two points from four games, will be hoping McDermott does get the necessary backing to freshen up a squad that has begun to look jaded.

Hull City winger Cameron Stewart is wanted by the Leeds chief, who admitted after the New Year’s Day defeat to Blackburn Rovers that talks had taken place with a couple of his four targets.

The £6m that Haigh’s group has ploughed into the Elland Road club includes the two seven-figure payments from firms associated with United’s managing director that have previously been reported.

On October 15, Berrydale Seventh Sports Holdings, a Dubai-based company in which Haigh is a director, loaned the club a six-figure sum.

The following month a £1m plus payment by Sport Capital – a Sussex-based company set up on October 23 that also lists Haigh as a director – was made into United’s account.

Just how much money will be put at McDermott’s disposal remains to be seen, but Marius Zaliukas, who recently signed an extended contract until the summer of 2015, believes the United chief has a good foundation on which to build.

He said: “The minimum task is to get in the top six and then to get promoted. Obviously, we are trying to do that and hopefully we will.

“Probably in a couple of positions, we need more competition between players. Obviously new players can help us.

“But so far everyone is fairly happy and we want to achieve as much as possible.

“Blackburn was disappointing. We wanted to start the year on the front foot. But in the first half, we were disappointed.

“We came back after half-time, but before that we were a little slow.

“We needed to start the game like we did in the second half. If we had done that, everything would have been okay.”

Leeds travel to League Two side Rochdale tomorrow in the FA Cup third round.

Zaliukas, who was released by cash-strapped Scottish side Heart of Midlothian at the end of last season, added: “We have been playing every three days, but you have to do that at this time of year.

“The Cup game will be a good one for us and we are looking forward to a win and to get back on winning ways again”

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