Neil Warnock is already looking to the Football League’s emergency loan window amid heavy financial restrictions at Leeds United and a warning from him about the toll the Championship season will take on his squad.
Two days after revealing that FIFA’s summer transfer deadline was likely to pass without further signings, Warnock made another stark admission about the situation at Elland Road by saying there was “not a cat in hell’s chance” of United’s existing squad being strong enough to cope with a 46-game term.
The Leeds manager has seen his transfer budget dry up during the drawn-out attempt by a Middle Eastern consortium to buy Leeds from the club’s owner and chairman, Ken Bates, and Warnock appears to have resigned himself to attacking the Football League’s loan market which opens seven days after the summer window closes a week today.
Premier League clubs will submit fixed 25-man squads to their governing body before the beginning of next month, inviting Football League clubs to sign surplus top-flight players on loan for a maximum of 93 days.
Warnock expects “good players” to be available next month but conceded again that his ability to bring them to Elland Road depended entirely on the financial situation at Leeds.
The United boss, whose side face Peterborough United at London Road tomorrow, said: “I can’t see anything changing before the deadline, unless the takeover is finalised. I know there are still on-going talks.
“I think we’ll be looking at loans from the Premier League once their 25s are registered on September 1. There are a number of good players we could bring in but the finances here will dictate as and when that happens.
“I’d love to bring three or four top-class players in, make no mistake about that. I could tell you three or four names now. I even enquired about one on Wednesday but another Championship club have offered him a lot more money than we could afford even if we were in the market. We’re up against it.”
Asked if his squad was deep enough to see Leeds through this season, Warnock said: “No, not a cat in hell’s chance.
“I’m not just saying that to scaremonger but for example, if we went to Peterborough and lost (Jason) Pearce and (Rodolph) Austin, I don’t really know where we’d turn to.
“But a lot of clubs are like that. You lose two or three main players and it’s a problem.
“It would be great for me to sign three or four good players on loan or permanently but it’s not to be. All managers know what the situation is at their club and that’s why, as a manager, all you can do is do your best, try to put out a team who’ll give everything and get every ounce of energy out of them.”
Warnock’s comments come at a time of deepening public frustration about the lack of clarity surrounding the proposed buy-out of Leeds.
Intense discussions throughout last week appeared to moved the takeover to the brink of completion and two senior employees at GFH Capital Limited - the Dubai-based firm who are thought to be brokering the takeover on behalf of the buyers - attended Elland Road for Saturday’s Championship match between Leeds and Wolverhampton Wanderers.
But few signs of progress have been seen in the past seven days, despite clear indications that the proposal is still on the table.
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