Steve Evans’ move for Kyle Lafferty is in doubt with Leeds United and Norwich City at odds over the terms of a transfer to Elland Road.
Evans said his approach to land Lafferty was “proving very difficult” with Norwich insisting on a permanent transfer and Leeds unwilling to agree anything more than a loan with a view to a full-time deal next summer.
The Northern Ireland international is a long-standing target of United’s and Evans was hopeful that a deal to loan him would be reached in the early stages of the January window.
Lafferty has been peripheral at Carrow Road this season but the 28-year-old has attracted interested from other clubs, including Palermo - who he spent a year with between 2013 and 2014 - and Red Star Belgrade.
Evans wants to add at least one new striker to his squad before the end of the month but he admitted that Leeds would be forced to move on if Norwich refused to consider a temporary deal.
Evans said: “We want it to be a loan deal with the option of a permanent. Norwich City have respectfully said that they want it to be on a permanent. We’re not going to be doing it on a permanent initially.
“We want to be able, if it’s possible, to bring the player here but that’s proving very difficult. If it proves not to be the case then we’re not only thinking of Kyle Lafferty, there are other players we’re looking at. It’s not Kyle Lafferty or nobody. There are other options.
“If we take another option then the Kyle Lafferty interest will suddenly drop off.”
Norwich are expected to add strikers to their own squad and manager Alex Neil is tracking Everton forward Steven Naismith.
Asked if his bid for Lafferty was effectively dead, Evans said: “Only Norwich City know that. They’re signing one and perhaps signing two or three others and their focus will quite rightly be on that area.
“They’ve made it clear that they would want Kyle to leave on a permanent and if someone out there is prepared to do that then we have to respect that they’re in a different situation to us at this present time,”
Evans has made one signing so far in this window, extending Liam Bridcutt’s loan from Sunderland until the end of this season, but despite the impasse over Lafferty he insisted that Leeds were in the market for permanent transfers.
“We’re very much in a position to do permanent deals,” Evans said. “When it gets to the top end of the permanent deals - and it’s no secret that if we were in a position to take Kyle Lafferty it would be at the top end - the only way we would look at it is to bring the player in, see how he fits in and adapts to being here.
“Of course with a clear option to purchase at the end of it. That’s what we’d like to do with it. There are others which if we could get over the line we’d be happy to make permanent this afternoon. They’re sometimes a little bit more difficult.”