Steve Evans has hailed the capture of one of his “top targets” after Leeds United moved to sign Brentford midfielder Toumani Diagouraga.
The Yorkshire Evening Post understands that Diagouraga agreed a two-and-a-half-year deal with the Elland Road side, although Leeds have not yet officially confirmed his capture.
Diagouraga is still awaiting a two-part medical which will be held over the weekend, with the deal set to be completed on Monday.
Diagouraga was at Elland Road with his representatives yesterday morning to discuss the terms of an agreement after Leeds had a bid accepted by Brentford.
Scottish Championship side Rangers were also keen but failed to agree financial terms with the Bees, meaning that Evans and Italian owner Massimo Cellino could move swiftly to beat the Gers to the 28-year-old midfielder.
Evans said: “I think it was a big decision for the kid. I was obviously aware of Rangers’ interest.
“The boy had a big decision make. But obviously you only get to speak to a player if clubs agree a fee.
“We agreed a fee, so that’s why we could speak to him. It’s taken a little while to get there but I’m delighted we’ve got there. I’m grateful to the owner Mr Cellino who’s made this happen.
“I wanted to build. I thought we wouldn’t get there so I was pleased to get it over the line. He was up there
with my top targets.”
Diagouraga is not available for today’s home tie against Bristol City, but Evans has already compared his new signing to one of the greats.
He believes Diagouraga could be as influential as Arsenal hero and current New York City FC head coach Patrick Viera.
Evans continued: “We’ve got a boy who’s 6 foot 2, we’ve got a Patrick Vieira-type player,” he said. “He brings real quality to our midfield.
“He’s signed for a giant in English football.”
Leeds host managerless Bristol City today with 13 points between themselves and the play-off places, a gap they are unlikely to bridge between now and the end of the season.
The Robins are 22nd in the Championship, having placed former Leeds defender John Pemberton in charge after Steve Cotterill’s sacking.
Pemberton played for the Whites between 1993 and 1997, accruing 53 appearances for the Elland Road club in the process, and led Bristol to a 1-0 win against league leaders Middlesbrough last weekend.