Neil Warnock expects the final week of the emergency loan window to pass without any new arrivals at Elland Road after admitting the delay in the takeover of Leeds United has left him powerless in the transfer market.
Warnock revealed that a number of approaches for players had failed in the build-up to Sunday’s game at Millwall and conceded that a lack of funds would tie his hands during the last days of the window.
The Football League’s emergency market closes at 5pm on Thursday but Warnock’s search for new players – a search intensified by the fall-out from last weekend’s heavy defeat to Millwall – is unlikely to deliver any signings before then.
Leeds came close to securing Stoke City striker Cameron Jerome last Thursday, denied his services when Stoke opted to keep Jerome at the Britannia Stadium, and further enquiries were made this week with the run-up to Christmas looming.
But Warnock is continuing to wait for the injection of cash promised by United’s prospective new owners, GFH Capital, and the Leeds manager said his inability to discuss long-term deals with potential loanees had forced him to rule out a number of targets.
GFH Capital remains on the verge of a 100 per cent buy-out of Leeds but the firm’s drawn-out attempt to seal a takeover and acquire the majority shareholding of United owner Ken Bates is leaving Warnock to fend with a squad depleted by injuries and bans.
“I’m trying very hard to bring players in,” Warnock said, “but the top players want permanent deals guaranteed for January.
“We’re not in a situation where we can offer them that yet. We can only offer short-term loans.
“Quite reasonably the chairman (Bates) doesn’t want to commit himself and the new party don’t want to commit themselves either until the takeover’s over the line.
“The new people don’t want to put money in until they’ve dotted the i’s and crossed the t’s. It’s a frustrating situation but I understand it. It’s not straightforward.
“I’ve been knocked back a few times with loan players this week. I had a Premier League player lined up to sign but we’ve had to put that to one side because we can’t get it done until the situation with the ownership is sorted out.
“We’re looking at short-term loans without a future (permanent) transfer and, to be quite honest, they’re few and far between.”
Leeds have completed two signings during the emergency loan window, bringing midfielder Michael Tonge to Elland Road from Stoke and landing winger Ryan Hall from Southend United.
Warnock plans to make both deals permanent during the January transfer window but the five-week gap between the end of the loan window and the turn of the year – a period in which Football League clubs are unable to recruit any new signings – could subject Leeds to a serious shortage of players.
Meanwhile, the club’s attempts to tie forward El-Hadji Diouf to a new and extended contract have so far failed and the future of the Senegalese international also appears to hinge on the arrival of funds via outside investment.
Diouf agreed a half-season deal worth £5,000-a-week in September, turning down offers from the Middle East to commit himself to United, but he rejected an extension put to him by the Championship side last month.
The 31-year-old’s agent, Willie McKay, claimed recently that two Premier League clubs had approached him with a view to signing Diouf in January but said Diouf’s preference was to remain at Elland Road.