The Elland Road chief is determined to bolster his squad after admitting, in the wake of Sunday’s defeat to Nottingham Forest, that additions are needed.
United’s transfer work is likely to be dependent on the expected completion of a takeover led by current managing director David Haigh early in the new year.
McDermott has been told to plan for that eventuality, which is why he met one potential target yesterday.
The Leeds manager said: “I have been talking to an agent and a player. They (the club’s owners) told me to have that conversation and I think what I have to do is try and line things up first and then go to the owners and say, ‘Look this is what we have to do, can we do this deal?’ That’s what I have done in the past.”
Sources in London have indicated that Stewart is on Leeds’s radar after being frozen out at the KC Stadium.
The 22-year-old, who is in the final six months of his Hull deal and is likely to be released by Steve Bruce in the summer, has spent the past few months on loan at Leeds’s fellow Championship club Charlton Athletic.
His wages were raised significantly in the wake of Hull’s promotion, something that put off several would-be suitors from making a move during the close season.
McDermott is not one to discuss individual targets. However, when asked what progress he is hoping to make once the window opens, the Leeds chief added: “I have had a conversation (with another target) and that is not going to happen.
“He is going to go to the Premier League apparently, so that’s that.
“There is one I am speaking to and then there is a couple of players who we would have to do deals with, with other clubs, and then you would have to go from there.
“That is where we are at and I would like to think things will hopefully fall into place. If you don’t get your targets, you move somewhere else and try to find a player that is right for us. I won’t do it for the sake of it.”