Leeds United could abandon Stockdale interest after loan bid fails
Stockdale’s proposed move to Elland Road is in doubt with Birmingham refusing to accept a deal which would release the 32-year-old on a temporary basis with a view to a permanent transfer in 12 months’ time.
Leeds are willing to pay a sizeable potion of Stockdale’s salary and wanted to bring negotiations to a conclusion with their squad already a week into pre-season training but the impasse with Birmingham could force the club to look elsewhere.
Stockdale emerged as an option after Birmingham manager Garry Monk informed him that he would not be part of City’s first-team plans this summer. The keeper has been told to train with Birmingham’s academy players and is due to report in next week, seven days after Monk’s senior squad.
Birmingham handed him a three-year contract when they agreed to sign him on a free transfer from Brighton last May but the club went through three managers last season. Following the departures of Harry Redknapp and Steve Cotterill, Monk arrived late in the term and steered Birmingham away from relegation to League One.
Stockdale featured regularly under Monk but was told shortly after the end of the campaign to find new employers. Having initially targeted a loan agreement for Manchester City’s Angus Gunn, Leeds began looking into a deal for Stockdale after becoming aware of his availability.
Birmingham, however, have so far resisted their interest and Leeds could be forced to move on unless a quick resolution is found. United’s prospects of landing Gunn are also in question amid reports that Southampton are attempting to sign the 22-year-old permanently for a fee in excess of £10m.
Leeds have effectively been left with one keeper with prior first-team experience following the departure of Felix Wiedwald to Eintracht Frankfurt. Andy Lonergan, who United brought in from Wolverhampton Wanderers last August, is among the players who new head coach Marcelo Bielsa has deemed surplus. The 34-year-old was on the verge of joining Sunderland in January before that move collapsed and has 12 months left on his contract.
The current situation positions 21-year-old Bailey Peacock-Farrell as Bielsa’s sole option and Peacock-Farrell was the only keeper amongst the main group of players who began training at Thorp Arch on Monday.
The youngster put himself in contention for a starting place next season with a run of appearances towards the end of last term and a call-up to Northern Ireland’s squad but United need an additional option and were keen to push through a deal for Stockdale this week. Stockdale is understood to have made Birmingham aware of his desire to join to Leeds.
The club and Bielsa are well into the process of removing unwanted players from their squad but the transfer market has not yielded a single signing, despite advanced negotiations on a number of fronts.
A bid for Derby County’s Matej Vydra remains reliant on Leeds meeting Derby’s asking price of £11m and United are yet to commit to the financial package required to take Abel Hernandez on a free transfer from Hull City.
Hernandez will officially become a free agent after his contract at Hull expires tomorrow.
United midfielder Adam Forshaw, meanwhile, has expressed his anticipation over the appointment of Bielsa after the Argentinian accepted a two-year deal at Elland Road.
“I can’t wait to play under him, with someone of that calibre and experience,” Forshaw told Leeds’ official website.
“Us as players should be a sponge to him, take all of the information on board and really commit to what he wants to teach us because I’m sure it will pay off and work for us.
“If you can’t get excited about an appointment like that, I don’t know when you will. His CV speaks for itself.”