Leeds United join clamour for Kevin Phillips

EXCLUSIVE: Leeds United have launched an audacious attempt to bring former England striker Kevin Phillips to Elland Road.

The 34-year-old is out of contract with West Bromwich Albion at the end of this month and has not agreed a new deal despite finishing last season as top scorer for the Championship title winners.

Baggies manager Tony Mowbray wants to keep the veteran at the Hawthorns, though only last week he did stress that the Midlands club would "not budge" over the offers on the table to either Phillips, Zoltan Gera or Martin Albrechtsen.

Phillips is understandably attracting a lot of interest and the Yorkshire Post understands League One Leeds are one of several clubs to have made contact with the player's agent to enquire about his availability.

Cash rich QPR are also believed to be keen to snare a striker who scored 22 goals last term to fire West Brom into the Premier League along with Stoke City who want Phillips to spearhead their first campaign in the top flight for almost a quarter of a century.

It seems a major factor in where his future lies will be the length of contract on offer with Phillips admitting early last month: "This going to be my last contract and it needs to be right. I would like two years."

In the face of such stiff competition from clubs further up the football pyramid, the chances of the former Sunderland striker opting for Elland Road seem slim but, nevertheless, Leeds manager Gary McAllister remains keen on pairing the veteran with Jermaine Beckford next season.

The United chief, who has already signed Swansea City's highly-rated winger Andy Robinson on a free transfer, has drawn up a list of potential targets as the club looks to overcome the disappointment of last month's play-off final defeat to Doncaster Rovers at Wembley.

Phillips's contribution to West Brom's promotion to the Premier League last term cannot be overstated with his 22 goals being bettered only by Wolves' Sylvain Ebanks-Blake.

He did, however, miss six weeks of the season with a knee injury in the autumn and was rewarded for his efforts across 2007-08 when named the club's Player of the Year.

Baggies manager Mowbray said about that award: "It means a lot to any player when their team-mates appreciate and respect the contribution they've made.

"I would say it's not just Kevin's performances during games that have won him this award, but also his personality and manner around the training ground."

Another on United's summer hit-list is believed to be Celtic's out-of-favour forward Derek Riordan.

The 25-year-old has interested the club in the past with Kevin Blackwell having once been keen on signing the then Hibernian striker when Leeds were a Championship side.

Riordan is unhappy at Celtic Park after making just eight league starts since moving to Glasgow in the summer of 2006. The most recent of these came in December last year.

He has 12 months remaining on his Celtic contract but has repeatedly stated a desire to leave the Scottish champions.

Burnley attempted to sign Riordan last January but had a six-figure bid turned down by Gordon Strachan, while up to five clubs are also understood to have tried to agree a loan switch.

Riordan's league starts may have been scarce, but he has still netted five goals in the famous hooped shirts. It was in Edinburgh, however, where his scoring prowess was most evident with 54 goals in 123 Scottish Premier League appearances.

He twice netted more than 20 times in a season for Hibernian to earn what seemed to be a dream move to Celtic.

United's transfer activity got underway a couple of days before the Wembley defeat to Doncaster when Robinson, who netted 10 times in League One last season, was persuaded to turn down a contract offer from Swansea to move to Elland Road.