Leeds United were awaiting a response from El-Hadji Diouf today with the summer transfer window destined to close without further arrivals at Elland Road.
The resolution of Diouf’s future was the most pressing priority this morning following United’s second attempt to meet the demands of the out-of-contract Senegal international.
Leeds submitted an initial offer to Diouf eight days ago and improved their terms on Tuesday after leaving him to consider his position over the weekend.
The 31-year-old has earned heavily during his playing career, pulling in top-flight wages at Liverpool, Bolton Wanderers and Blackburn Rovers, but it is understood that the salary on offer at Elland Road would fall some way below those of the highest-paid players in United’s squad.
Doncaster Rovers – the club who released Diouf in May – are believed to be paid him £2,000 a week during his short spell at the Keepmoat Stadium and Diouf is likely to receive a basic wage around three times as high if he agrees to remain with Leeds for the rest of this season.
He is presently on non-contract terms at Elland Road and played in Tuesday night’s Capital One Cup game against Oxford United – his fourth appearance of Leeds – but a final decision on his future is expected to be made before the end of this week.
Manager Neil Warnock is pushing to seal the permanent signing of Diouf with no likelihood of additional funds coming his way before Friday’s transfer deadline.
Warnock insisted after Tuesday’s cup tie that the financial details of United’s offer to Diouf were unlikely to be a factor in the forward’s decision, saying the situation “isn’t about money”, but Warnock would have little scope to replace him if Diouf opts to consider one of numerous approaches made from elsewhere.
The Leeds boss had hoped to fashion room on his wage bill by transfer-listing Danny Pugh but there is no expectation of the experienced midfielder leaving Elland Road in the next 24 hours. Ramon Nunez and Paul Rachubka are also looking for new clubs in the closing stages of the summer window.
Warnock has been awaiting an injection of funds through a proposed takeover of United by a Middle Eastern consortium but the deal has descended into silence and confusion since a week of intense negotiations leading up to Leeds’ league win over Wolverhampton Wanderers on August 18.
One of Warnock’s rumoured close-season targets - Peterborough United’s George Boyd - looked set to sign for Ipswich Town today after Peterborough accepted a joint offer of £1.75million for Boyd and striker Paul Taylor.
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