Warnock running out of money amid doubts over Leeds takeover

LEEDS manager Neil Warnock has admitted that further new signings are now dependent on players leaving Elland Road – with doubts starting to surround the takeover of the Championship club.

Warnock revealed that the departure of existing first-team players would be necessary to fund more additions to his squad as negotiations continued over the proposed buy-out of Leeds by a Middle Eastern consortium.

United have been in talks with potential purchasers for almost two months but have made no comment on the progress of discussions since announcing on June 26 that an unnamed group were performing due diligence on the accounts at Elland Road. Leeds chief executive Shaun Harvey is understood to have flown to Monaco yesterday to meet with chairman Ken Bates for further talks.

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Warnock’s attempts to restructure his playing squad have taken place against a backdrop of uncertainty and prolonged silence, and despite making 10 new signings since the start of May he is keen to bring another striker and a right-winger to Elland Road before the Championship season begins a week on Saturday.

But the United manager said: “We’ve got to move players on first to get players in. You can see that we need another striker at least but we have to fund it.

“I’m doing what I can to enable us to bring in one or two more players and I hope we can balance things to make that happen. That’s what I’m working on – trying to get wages off the wage bill to put new players on the wage bill.

“If I’m going to generate more income then I’ll have to adjust the squad. Let a couple go to bring a better one in. I’m working on that in my mind.”

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United’s prospective buyers are thought to have assisted Warnock at stages of the summer, involving themselves in efforts to prevent Scotland international Robert Snodgrass quitting Leeds for Norwich City last month, but their takeover remains incomplete many weeks after talks first began.

Two legal sources with knowledge of the due diligence process have told the YEP that an agreement with the Middle Eastern group was on the verge of being struck more than a month ago.

The consortium are believed to be looking for full ownership of Leeds, purchasing all of the 72.85 per cent stake held by existing owner Ken Bates, and it is anticipated that their proposal would see Bates sever his ties with United after seven-and-a-half years as chairman.

But concerns have been growing about the position of the deal amid few signs of recent progress.

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Warnock, meanwhile, has few players left to bargain with after reluctantly selling Snodgrass to Norwich for £3million.

He has since ruled out the possibility of allowing top-scorer Ross McCormack to leave Elland Road, and McCormack has resumed contract talks with club.

Fringe striker Billy Paynter was expected to join Doncaster Rovers this week and goalkeeper Paul Rachubka remains on the transfer list but the majority of Warnock’s other players have been used regularly during pre-season.

While the 63-year-old stressed the importance of bringing in a new forward and a right-sided midfielder, he said: “We’re not bad now apart from strikers and wide right.


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“If we could get a striker who could play wide-right that would be the ideal scenario.

“We’ve got the majority of our squad but we’re still looking because I think we’re a couple short.

“But we’re a lot happier and a lot healthier than we were three or four weeks ago and if Snodgrass was still here then I’d be delighted with the squad.

“Losing him has been difficult for me but at the same time I hope we can extend Ross’ contract before the season kicks off.

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“I feel he deserves a new contract and I’m hoping that we can reach an agreement with him.”

McCormack’s existing deal expires next June, at which point the 25-year-old would become a free agent.

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