Leeds United: Whites back in for Pompey duo

David Norris celebrates scoring for Pompey.
David Norris celebrates scoring for Pompey.
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Neil Warnock has intensified his push for more signings at Leeds United by reviving his interest in Portsmouth duo David Norris and Luke Varney.

Warnock is on the trail of Norris and Varney again after seeing his plans to overhaul United’s squad move forward this week with the acquisition of Norwich City left-back Adam Drury and Derby County midfielder Paul Green.

The Leeds manager originally marked out Norris and Varney as targets at the end of the recent Championship season, around the time of his successful approach for Jason Pearce, but a shortage of transfer funds at Elland Road prevented him from making a firm bit for either player.

Warnock is believed to have re-iterated his interest in the past seven days but Championship rivals Sheffield Wednesday upped the ante in the pursuit of Norris’ signature by holding talks with him earlier this week.

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The 31-year-old midfielder is thought to have spoken with the South Yorkshire club on Wednesday and Portsmouth are actively working to sell him as their battle to exit administration goes on.

Norris – a player with more than 400 competitive appearances behind him – was linked with a switch Leeds to last summer, prior to his switch from Ipswich Town to Fratton Park, but his career with Portsmouth will end after only one full season on the south coast.

Varney, 29, is also preparing to cut his ties with Pompey less than 12 months after joining them from Derby County. The former Crewe Alexandra striker, who scored six times last term, took up an offer from Pompey in July 2011 after completing a season in the Premier League while on loan at Blackpool.

Warnock was rumoured to be keen on signing Varney, pictured right, on a temporary basis soon after becoming United’s manager in February and Leeds are looking for another striker with top-scorer Ross McCormack expected to leave Elland Road before the start of the new season.

lWatford’s potential takeover by the Pozzo family is now off, according to current owner Laurence Bassini.

The Hornets, who are yet to make an official statement on the development, confirmed earlier this week they had agreed a deal in principle to sell the club to the Pozzo family.

The Italians already own Serie A side Udinese and Spanish team Granada and looked well poised to take the reins at Vicarage Road, with Gianfranco Zola even heavily linked with a prospective role at Vicarage Road.

But Bassini, who bought the npower Championship club 15 months ago, said: “They don’t have the money (I want for the takeover) so I’m not doing the deal. They didn’t provide the proof of funds and it is not transparent enough so that is that.

“They have so many partners but they don’t have the money.

“The deal is definitely off. They do not have the money.”

Leeds United head coach Thomas Christiansen. 
(Picture Jonathan Gawthorpe)

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