Leeds United: Gary Monk laughs off Wood sale rumours

Chris Wood
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Garry Monk described talk of domestic and foreign interest in Chris Wood as “stupid speculation” and insisted again that Leeds United would only see arrivals this month after Wood moved to the brink of 20 goals for the season.

United’s head coach gave short shrift to speculation surrounding his top scorer, including a recent claim that Wood is on the radar of one Chinese Premier League side.

Tianjin Quanjian, a newly-promoted team who are managed by former Italy international Fabio Cannavaro, were linked with Leeds’ prolific forward after failing to talk Chelsea into a multi-million deal for Diego Costa. Wood took his tally for the season to 19 with two efforts in Saturday’s 3-2 defeat to Barnsley, converting a close-range finish in the first half and a penalty later in the game.

Closer to home, West Ham United and Sunderland were also credited with an interest in Wood last week, despite an apparent lack of transfer funds at Sunderland, but Leeds are not believed to have received any firm offers and Monk laughed off the possibility of Leeds selling him before the January window closes.

“I don’t pay attention to stupid speculation,” Monk said.

“We focus on our jobs. All the players are committed to what we’re doing here and fully focused on going forward with us. It’s only a case of adding one or two to the squad.”

Monk is known to be keen on Norwich City winger Sergi Canos and West Ham striker Ashley Fletcher but neither move is close to materialising.

Canos has been frozen out of Norwich’s first team by Alex Neil, just months after joining the club from Liverpool, but Leeds are unlikely to meet City’s asking price of £2.5m.

West Ham’s failure to recruit any new forwards saw Fletcher named on the bench for their 3-1 win at Middlesbrough on Saturday.

“The club are working hard,” Monk said. “It’s exactly the same as I said before – we do need a couple of bodies to come in and help.

As soon as I have news I’ll be able to tell you.”

Monk’s options were again affected by injury and suspension at Oakwell, where Leeds lost for the first time in seven league matches.

Pontus Jansson, however, will return from a two-game ban against Nottingham Forest on Wednesday night and Monk said he expected both Liam Cooper and Hadi Sacko to recover from leg injuries in time to feature in that game.

Neither player made Monk’s 18 at Barnsley and left-back Charlie Taylor is continuing to fight an Achilles problem suffered by him last month.

United, meanwhile, expect to see one departure from Elland Road today with out-of-favour midfielder Toumani Diagouraga due to finalise a loan to Championship rivals Ipswich Town in the next 24 hours.

Diagouraga was one of three senior players, along with midfielder Luke Murphy and goalkeeper Ross Turnbull, who Monk deemed surplus to requirements in the first month of the season and the 29-year-old has not played since the opening weekend of the term.

Leeds paid almost £600,000 to sign him from Brentford last January and Diagouraga is 12 months into a two-and-a-half year contract but Leeds are ready to send him to Ipswich until the end of the season after a proposed move to Rotherham United stalled.

Gjanni Alioski

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