Leeds United: Deadline day deal done for Bournemouth midfielder Eunan O’Kane

HELLO THERE: Eunan O'Kane has joined LEeds United from Bournemouth. Picture: Martin Rickett/PA.
HELLO THERE: Eunan O'Kane has joined LEeds United from Bournemouth. Picture: Martin Rickett/PA.
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LEEDS UNITED completed their 11th signing of the summer tonight as Ireland midfielder Eunan O’Kane joined on a two-year-deal from AFC Bournemouth for an undisclosed fee, shortly before the close of play on transfer deadline day.

Want-away left-back Charlie Taylor also remained at Elland Road but the club’s search for a new striking option ended in frustration.

HELLO THERE: New Leeds United signing, Eunan O'Kane. Picture: Martin Rickett/PA.

HELLO THERE: New Leeds United signing, Eunan O'Kane. Picture: Martin Rickett/PA.

The Whites are believed to have contacted Arsenal about taking French striker Yaya Sanogo on loan but were told by boss Arsene Wenger that the forward was staying with the Gunners.

Leeds were linked with a move for 26-year-old Republic of Ireland international O’Kane earlier this summer and returned with a new bid for the midfielder as the hours ticked down towards tonight’s transfer deadline.

United landed their man on a two-year-deal for an undisclosed fee shortly before 8pm but the quest to sign another striker ended in disappointment as the clock headed towards last night’s 11pm deadline.

Clubs are now forbidden from taking part in any regular transfer activity until the opening of the January transfer window, other than being able to sign free agents.

United were also looking to off-load out-of-favour midfielders Toumani Diagouraga and Luke Murphy but both players will now stay with the Whites until at least the January transfer window.

Leeds were also ready to listen of any interest in club captain Sol Bamba who seems to be fourth choice centre-back but Bamba will also remain at Elland Road.

Rotherham United were interested in signing Diagouraga but failed to seal a deal while Murphy had been linked with a move to Sheffield United.

Star left-back Taylor was apparently attracting interest from a whole host of Premier League clubs but deadline day passed without a big-money bid to secure the defender’s services.

Taylor, whose contract expires next summer, asked for a transfer request last month after Whites owner Massimo Cellino accused the player of refusing to enter into talks about a new deal. O’Kane, meanwhile, was signed by Bournemouth from Torquay United in July 2012 and has since made 115 appearances for the Cherries.

But the Republic of Ireland international has not played for Eddie Howe’s side since April and was pushed further down the pecking order when the south-coast side signed Jack Wilshere on loan from Arsenal today.

O’Kane was born in Derry and represented Northern Ireland at under-16s, under-17s, under-19s, under-20s and under-21s level.

But the midfielder switched allegiances to the Republic in 2008 and, after picking up five caps for the under-21s, he graduated to the full international side.

O’Kane narrowly missed out on a place in Martin O’Neill’s squad for Euro 2016 but was part of the Ireland squad that took on Oman last night in a friendly at Lansdowne Road.

O’Kane was in line to win his fifth cap for his country but was an unused substitute.

The midfielder shared the same club as United first-team coach James Beattie when the duo were both at Everton in 2007 where O’Kane spent two years of his youth career.

From there he joined Coleraine where he spent two years before joining Torquay.

O’Kane becomes United’s 11th signing of the summer into the regular first-team squad, following in Marcus Antonsson, Robert Green, Kemar Roofe, Luke Ayling and Liam Bridcutt, plus Kyle Bartley, Hadi Sacko, Matt Grimes, Pablo Hernandez and Pontus Jannson on loan.

Ten senior players have also left the club, headed by midfielder Lewis Cook, who was sold to Bournemouth for an initial £6, rising to £10m.

Mirco Antenucci, Scott Wootton, Casper Sloth, Tomasso Bianchi and Eric Grimes have also all left permanently, while Giuseppe Bellusci, Lee Erwin, Jordan Botaka and Alex Purver have all left on loan.

Mateusz Klich

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