STEVE EVANS says that he and Leeds United president Massimo Cellino are poring over an extensive list of transfer targets ahead of possible beat-the-deadline moves before 11pm on Monday evening.
So far this month, United have brought in Brentford midfielder Toumani Diagouraga for £575,000 and Middlesbrough winger Mustapha Carayol on loan – while extending Liam Bridcutt’s loan deal for the rest of the season.
Mixed messages may have been displayed in the past few days regarding the chances of more business before the deadline, but United appear still to be active in the market, given their tabling of a £300,000 bid for Barnsley forward Sam Winnall, which was swiftly rejected, and their interest in bringing in Crystal Palace frontman Fraizer Campbell on loan.
Landing a new striker, exacerbated by fitness concerns surrounding top-scorer Chris Wood, remains a priority – with Norwich’s Kyle Lafferty a big target at the start of the window, although hopes of that deal transpiring have drifted, according to Evans.
Whether Leeds land any of the aforementioned targets or not, they have a number of alternatives, according to Evans – who is keen to do several pieces of business in an ideal world before Monday evening, while being mindful of the need for some prudence also.
He said: “We are working hard on a lot of fronts. It was not just the boy from Brentford (Diagouraga) and there were other midfield alternatives that the president was also working on. We just so happened to get our first choice.
“One hundred per cent, the deal has to be right. This football club cannot go back to the days where the supporters questioned what level it would be at because of the debts and such like. We are in the opposite extent now where we have money available to strengthen the squad and the president has taken my counsel in a lot of those discussions. “I am responsible also, so that there’s prudence around the squad and making sure we have a happy medium in the dressing room.”
On the situation regarding Lafferty, Evans said: “I am not aware with what is happening with Lafferty. It’s been drifting for some time now.
“As I have always maintained, it is not just Kyle Lafferty who is in the equation for Leeds United, but a number of strikers.”
Alongside some incoming business, Evans is also receptive to the idea of fringe players Lee Erwin, Casper Sloth and Jordan Botaka leaving the club to get some game time, with all three currently on the periphery of the first team at the moment and not in his plans.
It remains to be seen if firm interest surfaces in any of those players – whether it is regarding a loan or a fill-time move – before Monday evening.
But if it does, Evans is unlikely to stand in their way, with the Scot admitting that playing development squad football is not in the best interests of the trio.
He added: “We try and treat it on a player by player basis.
“But we made it clear that some of the fringe players perhaps need to think about getting some football rather than sitting about playing under-21s, which for me is a process of learning youngsters.
“For experienced players, it is just about getting game time, nothing else as under-21s (games) are never played as competitively as first-team games. So if the right opportunity comes for those three to get some game time, then we would look at it.”