LEEDS UNITED will be without Samuel Saiz until late next month after the club’s inspirational play-maker accepted a six-game ban for spitting during the FA Cup defeat to Newport County.
The Spaniard was sent off by referee Mike Dean in stoppage-time on Sunday for spitting at Exiles midfielder Robbie Willmott.
Dean’s report reached the Football Association yesterday morning and Saiz was immediately hit with the lengthy suspension. In a statement released by Leeds on his behalf, the 25-year-old apologised and promised to “learn from this situation and never repeat it”.
His absence will be keenly felt by Leeds, the £3m summer signing having emerged as one of the Championship’s most talented performers. He will not be available again to head coach Thomas Christiansen until the February 20 trip to Derby County.
“I would like to take this opportunity to sincerely apologise to the players, staff and supporters of Leeds United for my behaviour in (Sunday’s) game at Newport County,” added Saiz, who earlier in the season escaped punishment when an accusation of spitting at Port Vale defender Joe Davis was made only for the FA to clear him of wrong-doing.
“I would also like to apologise to Newport County and Robbie Willmott for my actions. I accept the punishment handed to me by the FA.
“My actions are inexcusable. I give my word to all those connected to Leeds United that I will learn from this situation and never repeat it.
“I am grateful for the support I receive from our fans and I understand that I am a role model to the next generation of Leeds supporters. I will ensure that my behaviour moving forward reflects that.”
Willmott, for his part, accepted the apology. “There are no hard feelings,” said the midfielder. “He is actually one of my favourite players in the Championship. I think it was a heat of the moment thing. He just went a little bit over the top.”
Leeds, meanwhile, are understood to be closing in on a deal to sign Club Brugge left-back Laurens De Bock.
Sources in Belgium suggest the 25-year-old is preparing to leave Brugge’s winter training camp in Spain following extensive talks between the two clubs over a possible fee.