Leeds United sign Jason Pearce

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Leeds United manager Neil Warnock ended “weeks of worry” by completing the capture of Jason Pearce from Portsmouth

United sealed the long-awaited signing of Pearce by tying the centre-back to a four-year contract, with Warnock admitting: “I’ve been all over him like a disease!”

Pearce’s arrival was widely expected after Warnock moved to strike a deal for him last month but the YEP understands that two of his former team-mates, midfielder David Norris and striker Luke Varney, are also on United’s radar.

Both players were part of the Portsmouth squad which was relegated from the Championship this season and both could follow Pearce out of Fratton Park with their club in administration and struggling to stay afloat.

Warnock opened the door to at least one new midfielder by transfer-listing Adam Clayton on Wednesday, and 31-year-old Norris has emerged as a viable target for the United boss.

The ex-Ipswich Town player, who was strongly linked with United a year ago, is a veteran of more than 400 senior appearances and turned out against Leeds during Warnock’s first official game as manager at Fratton Park in February.

Warnock also revealed this week that he was looking for a striker to complement Ross McCormack and Luciano Becchio having made Billy Paynter available for a transfer out of Elland Road.

Varney, 29, featured regularly for Portsmouth this term but scored only six goals. Both he and Norris are under contract for the forthcoming season.

But Leeds succeeded in reaching an agreement with Portsmouth’s administrators for Pearce, paying a fee in the region of £500,000 up front. The former Bournemouth defender was unveiled at Thorp Arch yesterday.

Warnock revealed that he had attempted to take Pearce on loan in March and also tried to sign the 24-year-old while manager of Queens Park Rangers.

“I’ve been worried sick about this for weeks,” Warnock admitted after finalising his first summer recruit.

“I first started looking at him when he was at Bournemouth. I tried to get him a couple of times at QPR but we missed out.

“When I came here we went after him in March,

Kalvin Phillips celebrates scoring Leeds' second goal of the game Picture by Simon Hulme

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