Leeds United: Whites linked with Nottingham Forest captain

FREE AGENT: Nottingham Forest's Luke Chambers (left) is a possible target for Leeds.
FREE AGENT: Nottingham Forest's Luke Chambers (left) is a possible target for Leeds.
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Leeds United are being linked with a bid to sign out-of-contract Nottingham Forest captain Luke Chambers.

Chambers is available on a free transfer after five seasons at the City Ground and Leeds have been credited with an interest in the experienced defender.

Forest have been unable to tie Chambers down amid their recent search for new owners and his status as a free agent has allowed several clubs – among them Ipswich Town – to set their sights on the 26-year-old.

Ipswich are thought to be at the front of the queue to sign the centre-back, whose appearances for Forest number more than 200 and reports in Suffolk claim manager Paul Jewell will attempt to force the transfer through in the next seven days. Chambers’ contract at the City Ground ended at midnight.

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But Leeds have emerged as another possible option for Chambers as the Yorkshire club inch towards a takeover at Elland Road.

United manager Neil Warnock has already signed one centre-back this summer, landing Jason Pearce in a £500,000 deal from Portsmouth and he gave youngster Tom Lees a firm vote of confidence by handing the 21-year-old a new, long-term contract last month.

But his supply of centre-backs diminished towards the end of last season with the departure of on-loan Darren O’Dea and the subsequent release of Alex Bruce. Andy O’Brien has been transfer-listed by Warnock and Leigh Bromby is recovering from serious knee surgery.

Forest, meanwhile, are close to a takeover but the delay in finding new owners has cast doubt over the future of a number of their more prominent players.

The Nottingham club narrowly avoided relegation from the Championship last season and their prospects for the coming campaign are unclear with a buy-out in the offing and doubts growing about the future of manager Steve Cotterill.

Asked in April where he was likely to be playing next season, Chambers said: “At this moment I don’t know. I can’t answer that – we’ll have to wait and see.

“I want to be involved in a team that is moving in the right direction. Hopefully I can do that, wherever that might be.”

Warnock’s signings have numbered three since the end of the 2011-12 term, with Pearce joining Leeds on May 4 and Paul Green and Adam Drury set to move north from Derby County and Norwich City respectively once their existing deals run out this evening.

But the prospect of new ownership at Elland Road – a takeover which is believed to be on the verge of completion – promises to open the way to further arrivals in the days leading up to the start of pre-season training on July 11.

Warnock, who has been out of the country on holiday this week, has already underlined the importance of the next fortnight, saying: “I want to make sure that as many signings as possible are here before we start on July 11.

“It’s the first day of pre-season when you want or need most of your players on board. That’s when everything starts.”

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