LEEDS UNITED have boosted their striking options by completing the loan signing of Edgar Cani – while successfully repelling interest from Wigan Athletic in midfielder Rudy Austin.
Albanian international forward Cani, 25, has sealed his protracted move to Leeds from Serie B outfit Catania on loan for the rest of the season with a view to a permanent deal. But arguably the more significant transfer deadline day development saw former captain Austin remain at the club.
While Austin has stayed put, two fellow experienced midfielders have departed Leeds with Michael Tonge joining Millwall on loan for the remainder of 2014-15 and forgotten man David Norris exiting by mutual consent.
Jamaican international Austin, out of contract in the summer, had been the subject of a failed £500,000 bid from the Latics last week.
But some national reports yesterday morning suggested that the Lancashire outfit had been successful in a fresh move for the 29-year-old.
This prompted Leeds to clarify matters and issue a statement saying that Austin was going nowhere and staying put.
The news represents a welcome development to both supporters and head coach Neil Redfearn, who had recently stated that Austin, as far as he was concerned, was not for sale ‘at all costs’ with the player having also been
linked with Cardiff City and Brighton earlier in the transfer window.
A club statement said: “There has been significant interest in the player and media reports over the weekend and on Monday had suggested that the club had agreed a deal for Rudy to exit Leeds United, but this is not the case.
“Rudy remains a vital part of Neil Redfearn’s squad and will play a major part for Leeds United in the remaining 18 Championship matches and beyond.
“The midfielder has expressed a desire to remain at the club and help head coach Neil Redfearn make the season as successful as possible.”
Meanwhile, Tonge’s Elland Road career is effectively over following his move to the New Den, with the 31-year-old out of contract at the end of June.
Tonge had also been the subject of interest from Bradford City, but the financial terms of the transfer are believed to have ruled the Bantams out.
Millwall promptly stepped in and signed Tonge, well known to Lions number two and former Leeds assistant-manager Nigel Gibbs.
Tonge will not be eligible to play against parent club Leeds for his new club on Saturday week.
Norris’s three-year deal was due to expire this summer but he has been a peripheral figure at United for the past 18 months and was unlikely to feature for the club again.
Meanwhile, 6ft 4in frontman Cani has expressed his relief after his move to Leeds was finally completed.
Cani, who has netted three goals in 15 appearances for Catania this month, said: “I am very happy now to be here.
“I heard one month ago that Leeds wanted me. I was very happy about that.
“I think it’s a good team. I think we can do good and keep going.
“I would like to play and do as much as I can. Let’s see.”