Leeds United: Lafferty deal still on but Kike hopes fade

Kyle Lafferty

Kyle Lafferty

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LEEDS UNITED are still interested in signing Norwich City striker Kyle Lafferty but Middlesbrough forward Kike is “not for sale” and unlikely to be joining Elland Road in January.

United will pocket £3.7m from the proposed sale of Sam Byram to Everton with head coach Steve Evans hoping to seek assurances from chairman Massimo Cellino that the money raised will be used to recruit new players.

In any case, the head coach says Leeds already had funds available to strengthen the squad with Evans having identified a clear list of targets of which Lafferty remains one of.

United have been linked with a move for the Northern Ireland international since the Autumn but the prospects of a January move looked slim with Leeds wanting to take the 28-year-old initially on loan but Norwich holding out for a permanent deal.

But Evans has revealed that United and Norwich are still “in talks” over Lafferty though a move for Middlesbrough forward Kike seems less likely with Evans of the understanding that the 26-year-old Spaniard is not for sale.

United initially tried to loan Kike in November but it is a deal for Lafferty that seems more likely though Evans is now under instruction from Canaries boss Neil to say little until anything is completed.

“Alex Neil told me to stop talking about it and Alex is smaller than me but he would probably fight better than me,” said Evans.

“I’m going to have to not talk about it but that lies with the people above me.

“I have never hidden my admiration for the player but I have a real respect for my mate at Norwich in Alex and the chief executive over there so we will let those talks continue.”

Evans will naturally hope that his January ‘war-chest’ is about to be boosted to the tune of £3.7m by the proposed sale of Byram to Everton.

The head coach hinted there was a possibility that some of that cash may be used to fuel an outright bid for Lafferty as opposed to just a loan move.

“These are the questions that I have obviously got for the president,” said Evans.

“Obviously that is a decision that lies above me and the football club already has a list of players that I would like to add to the group whether that be now or whether that be loan or permanent or whether it be leading us towards the summer.

“We do have monies available to strengthen the squad and I have been subject myself to calling head coaches and putting types of offers in, albeit on a verbal basis.

“We have made those calls so we are trying to strengthen the squad but I will make no apologies for saying that I cannot take this football club back down the same track of where it was in the summer and where it was last year and the year before which is signing players that don’t enhance what we’ve got and don’t really make us a promotion side and that’s what we’ve got to build here.

“If we’re not building towards a promotion side together then we are as well giving it up.”

Any deal for Kike, though, seems highly unlikely, with Evans revealing: “Aitor Karanka I think has made it clear to everybody that he is not for sale.

“I know they are trying to sign players so whether that changes later in the window I don’t know but I’ve never hidden my admiration for the kid as a player as he’s a top player and he’s caused my teams havoc in the past. He’s a good player but Aitor has said at this moment in time that he’s staying.”