Leeds United completed their planned summer clear-out yesterday by ending Nicky Ajose’s time at Elland Road and freeing the striker to join Swindon Town.
United brought long-running negotiations with Ajose to a conclusion within hours of the transfer window closing, severing his contract and clearing the way for a move to Swindon. The 23-year-old was little over 12 months into a three-year deal at Leeds but his departure has been pending for several weeks after head coach Uwe Rosler warned him that he would play no part for United’s first team this season.
Ajose was one of three players, along with strikers Steve Morison and Billy Sharp, who Leeds and their owner, Massimo Cellino, intended to move off the wage bill this summer.
Their names were circulated amongst other Football League clubs and Sharp left for Sheffield United towards the end of July. A deal to terminate Morison’s contract saw him return to Millwall on a free transfer shortly before the start of the season.
Attempts to reach a settlement with Ajose were more protracted, complicated in part by the tense relationship between Cellino and the forward’s agent, Peter Morison.
Morison also represents Cameron Stewart, the winger who has been embroiled in a bitter dispute with United since the club pulled out of a deal to sign him last year.
A deal with Ajose was struck yesterday morning, however, and he promptly completed a free transfer to Swindon. His out-of-contract status allowed him to make the move outside of FIFA’s transfer window. Coventry showed a late interest in Ajose prior to Tuesday’s 6pm deadline.
But Swindon had been pushing for a deal for some time and landed him on a three-year contract.
The move ends an unsuccessful Leeds career in which Ajose made only four appearances and was overlooked completely following the sacking of former head coach David Hockaday.
Hockaday was responsible for targeting Ajose and Leeds paid £150,000 to take him from Peterborough United last August.
In a statement, United said: “We would like to wish Nicky well for the future and thank him for his efforts here.”