Leeds United will press Aston Villa to extend Fabian Delph’s loan until the end of the season after signing the midfielder on a one-month deal.
The club’s former academy player was set to make his return to United’s team against Ipswich Town today, two-and-a-half years after leaving to join Villa for £6million, but manager Simon Grayson is anxious to agree a long-term loan before the transfer window closes.
Delph’s initial spell with Leeds runs until February 25, taking in seven matches up to and including their visit to Portsmouth, and Grayson is hopeful of persuading Villa to leave him at Elland Road for the rest of the Championship term.
Villa manager Alex McLeish is reluctant to release Delph for such a long period, despite admitting that the 22-year-old is unlikely to feature regularly for the Premier League side, and Leeds have just 10 days in which to reach an extended agreement.
Without one, Grayson might still be able to increase Delph’s emergency loan up to a maximum of 93 days but a deal of that nature would expire halfway through April and include a 24-hour recall clause from the middle of next month.
Grayson said: “We tried to do it to the end of the season and Fabian wants to come till the end of the season but Villa have only agreed to a 28-day loan.
“Over the next 10 days we’ll be in negotiations, trying to extend that to the end of the season. That would give us stability and the player stability. But I have to be happy to have him for at least seven games with the potential for him to be here a lot longer.
“In the 10 days before window shut we can turn it into a standard loan which is what we want to do.
“If not, his 28 days can go on to 93 days but Villa would be able to recall him.
“There’s still a bit of negotiating needed to sort that out.”
Grayson said tentative moves to sign Delph had first been made prior to Christmas but his transfer materialised 48 hours after Leeds courted controversy among their support by agreeing to sell midfielder and club captain Jonathan Howson to Norwich City.
Grayson said: “This isn’t a deal that’s been done in the last 24 hours. We’d spoken about it before Christmas and we were at the mercy of Villa.
“It was only in the last two or three days that they decided what they wanted to do with him.
“It’s a signing we were looking to do regardless of Jonny leaving.
“This is an expensive deal for Leeds United but it shows our intent.”