Liam Bridcutt’s protracted move to Leeds United was back on last night after Steve Evans mounted a late bid to revive the transfer.
Bridcutt and Evans met at Thorp Arch yesterday evening with the Sunderland midfielder pondering the option of joining Cardiff City and Evans fighting to persuade him to come to Elland Road.
Sources in the north east have told the YEP that Bridcutt and Evans shook hands on a deal which should see the 26-year-old join Leeds on an emergency loan until January ahead of tonight’s deadline.
Evans has been chasing Bridcutt for the past month but the mooted transfer appeared to have collapsed amid widespread interest from other Championship clubs and frustration at Sunderland over United’s failure to finalise the signing quickly.
If Bridcutt’s move goes through this morning, the former Brighton player will go into Leeds’ squad for Saturday’s Championship game at Queens Park Rangers.
Prior to last night’s talks, Evans’ hunt for loan signings was in danger of ending in frustration with time running out for him to add to his squad.
The United head coach has spoken openly about his need to recruit players since taking charge of the club last month but he is still to finalise his first deal with the run-up to Christmas looming.
Evans has been in discussions about potential signings with Leeds owner Massimo Cellino throughout his time as first-team boss but approaches for a number of players have been unsuccessful.
The delay in securing Bridcutt allowed Cardiff to make an offer for him and the Welsh club were confident of completing the signing after sending scouts to watch him play for Sunderland’s Under-21s against Liverpool on Tuesday.
Evans, who also targeted Norwich City’s Kyle Lafferty and saw Charlton Athletic striker Tony Watt join Cardiff on Monday after refusing to match City’s valuation of him, revealed last week that he was looking at a wide range of options.
“It’s not just the lad up at Sunderland or one lad over at Norwich,” Evans said. “There are several players who in my opinion are at that level.
“If we can’t get one or two others because of certain reasons then we can’t just have only one option.”
The Football League’s emergency loan window shuts at 5pm this evening, preventing United from making further signings until the start of January.
Evans’ struggle to land new players quickly raised questions about the support being offered to him by Cellino. The Italian is under threat of another Football League disqualification and appears to be trying to sell his majority stake in United.
Evans, however, insisted recently that he believed he had Cellino’s full backing.
“If he didn’t think it was a good idea then I don’t think he’d be asking me or Martyn Glover (United’s head of recruitment) to look for targets and chase them up,” Evans said. “The club are genuinely working on deals.”