England international Matthew Upson is the latest defender to be linked with Leeds United as Brian McDermott’s focus begins to shift away from his forward line at Elland Road.
Upson, 34, is available on a free transfer following his release by Stoke City and looks likely to move into the Championship permanently after finishing last season on loan at play-off semi-finalists Brighton.
Albion are yet to make a move for Upson with the club’s manager, Gus Poyet, suspended from The Amex Stadium and likely to part company with the club after a recent fall-out with Brighton’s board of directors.
Leeds boss McDermott plans to recruit another centre-back and has already been credited with an interest in Bolton Wanderers’ Matt Mills and Reading’s out-of-contract defender Alex Pearce.
Pearce is on the radar of Liverpool, Newcastle United and Cardiff City, however, and Mills would cost Leeds a fee of at least £750,000.
The former Reading captain is out of favour at the Reebok Stadium after only one season with Bolton but he is tied to a lucrative and lengthy contract.
McDermott has made progress with the attacking end of his team this week, closing out a deal to sign Matt Smith from Oldham Athletic and lining up the arrival of Noel Hunt.
United are close to meeting Hunt’s wage demands – thought to be around £12,000 a week – after a spate of negotiations and the Republic of Ireland striker is expected to officially join Leeds when his deal at Reading runs out on June 30.