Brian McDermott poured cold water on claims that he is looking to sacrifice El-Hadji Diouf from Leeds United’s squad as he crossed his fingers for transfer developments in the next 48 hours.
United have fielded an enquiry for one of their senior players, raising McDermott’s hopes that a departure from Elland Road will allow him to complete his fourth summer signing before Leeds kick off their Championship season against Brighton on Saturday.
McDermott, who has been told to reduce United’s wage bill before bringing new players in, revealed the approach after his side rounded off pre-season with a 2-0 defeat to German Bundesliga club Nuremberg.
But the Leeds boss reacted cooly to suggestions last week that Diouf is on the list of names he is ready to move on. Diouf has a year to run on his £10,000-a-week contract and McDermott said: “Whatever suggestions there are about him didn’t come from me. All I know is that he’s got to get himself training and he’s got to get himself fit.
“He hasn’t done any training yet. He got injured and then he got this really nasty infection but he loves his football, he loves playing and training and he’s desperate to get back.”
Beyond Diouf, Ross McCormack and Aidan White were linked with moves to Blackpool on Friday and the Lancashire team are known to hold a firm interest in McCormack.
The Scotland international is a former Rangers team-mate of Blackpool coach Alex Rae and has been on the list of targets at Bloomfield Road all summer.
McDermott did not reveal the identity of the player attracting interest but he said: “We’ve had a little bit of an enquiry. Monday, Tuesday we’ll see what happens. Maybe that would let me do something the other way. If someone left the building, someone could possibly come in. That’s how it is.”