Hammers will return to test Leeds’s resolve over McCormack

Leeds United's Ross McCormack.
Leeds United's Ross McCormack.
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LEEDS UNITED last night rejected a £3.5m bid for Ross McCormack from West Ham United, the Yorkshire Post understands.

However, sources in London have indicated that the Premier League outfit are likely to return with an improved offer for the Scot – a development that is certain to be greeted with dismay by supporters.

McCormack, made captain by manager Brian McDermott just a week ago, has been the one beacon of light throughout what is shaping up to be another disappointing season at Elland Road.

He has scored 18 goals and as recently as last summer committed his future to the Championship club by signing a new four-year deal in the wake of Leeds fending off multiple bids from Middlesbrough for the 27-year-old.

Now, however, United’s top scorer is wanted by Premier League strugglers West Ham, who are expected to come back with an improved offer after their initial bid was dismissed by the Yorkshire club.

Sam Allardyce is desperate to bolster a squad that sits third bottom of the top flight with three new arrivals before next Friday when the transfer window shuts.

McCormack, according to those same sources, is one of those new faces Allardyce badly wants to see at Upton Park.

Leeds last night rejecting the bid from West Ham will have pleased supporters.

However, at the end of a week when clarity has been lacking at the very top of Leeds United amid the on-going attempts by managing director David Haigh to push through his takeover, the Elland Road faithful could be forgiven for fearing the worst – especially as West Ham seem determined to spend big in an attempt to get out of trouble

The concrete interest in McCormack from the London club is the latest worrying turn of events for United fans, who have only been able to watch in frustration as the deadline for a 75 per cent buyout – a deal that was agreed between Gulf Finance House and Sport Capital, Haigh’s group, as long ago as November 30 – has been put back from late December to early in the New Year and then, finally, the middle of January.

Since the latest of those proposed purchase periods passed, nothing has been heard publicly from either Haigh’s consortium – which includes Andrew Flowers, managing director of shirt sponsors Enterprise Insurance – or Gulf Finance House, the Bahrain-based bank which bought Leeds from Ken Bates in December, 2012.

Adding further intrigue has been an apparent rift between Sport Capital and GFH in the wake of a proposed deal to buy Brighton & Hove Albion striker Ashley Barnes being vetoed by the club’s current owners.

Despite that, GFH felt confident enough to tell the Dubai Stock Exchange as recently as Monday that a deal to sell a 75 per cent stake was going through, subject to Football League approval and “certain obligations to complete the transaction”.

While all this has been going on, United’s season on the pitch has taken a huge turn for the worse thanks to a run of five straight defeats.

This sequence included both an FA Cup humbling at League Two Rochdale and an embarrassing 6-0 derby thrashing at Sheffield Wednesday.