Neil Warnock insisted today that major investment in Leeds United was the “only way forward” for the Elland Road club as he revealed that he had been asked by Ken Bates to compile a list of January transfer targets in anticipation of a takeover.
Warnock stressed the need to “put to bed” uncertainty surrounding the proposed purchase of Leeds by GFH Capital following a week of renewed speculation about the company’s protracted bid.
The Leeds manager admitted he was in the dark about the position of a takeover deal which has been discussed for more than five months but finally appears to be nearing completion.
Reports on Wednesday claimed a buy-out could be finalised before tomorrow’s game against Watford – a suggestion which sources at GFH Capital have since played down – and the Dubai-based firm is increasingly confident of pushing through its long-awaited purchase.
GFH Capital has already invested at least £2million in United and the company is promising to hand Warnock substantial transfer funds once a deal with Bates, the club’s chairman and majority shareholder, is signed off.
Warnock was hoping to seal a high-profile loan signing today – a player he said would give Leeds a “fighting chance against anyone” in the Championship – but he has long pinpointed the January window as a vital stage of the club’s challenge for promotion.
The United boss said it was crucial that Leeds “get our house in order”, but asked if he was confident of a positive resolution to the planned takeover, Warnock said: “I can’t really answer that. I’ve just got to think that everything’s in hand. I’m told that I’ll be the first to know.
“Tweets, newspaper columns – my chairman says there’s been that much speculation but only he knows what’s really happening and he’ll let me know as soon as there’s anything to tell.
“He’s asked me to pick players out for January, if the takeover comes off. That’s what I’ve been doing.”
GFH Capital has previously stated its intention to finalise a buy-out United before FIFA’s winter transfer window opens on January 1.
Warnock said: “Whether we’d still be in contention for this season (by then) I’m not sure but from the club’s point of view, it can only be the way forward. Everybody knows it including the chairman.
“The speculation’s got to be put to bed to let us get back to normal business. Then everyone can get behind everyone else and have a plan.
“It’s just trying to get things done – dotting the i’s and crossing the t’s. I keep hoping to get some good news.”
A senior source at GFH Capital told the YEP earlier this week that the firm still had “documents to process and work to complete” but said the takeover was “getting there”. GFH Capital has displayed growing confidence in its bid since deputy chief executive David Haigh and director Salem Patel travelled to Monaco for advanced talks with Bates over the weekend of October 27.
The pair have attended several matches at Elland Road this season while another GFH Capital board member – Hisham Alrayes – was present for their win over Nottingham Forest on September 22.