Leeds United: Carpi set Whites a deadline to sign striker Mbakogu

Abel Hernandez
Abel Hernandez
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Carpi’s president has revealed that Leeds United have until June 30 to complete a deal for Jerry Mbakogu with the Elland Road club delaying over the signing of the striker.

Stefano Bonacini, who runs Serie B side Carpi, reiterated his expectation that Mbakogu would join Leeds before the end of next month despite United holding off on shaking hands on a £3.5m move. Leeds began negotiating an agreement for Mbakogu in the January transfer window with a view to signing the 25-year-old at the end of the Italian season and secured an option to buy him for a set fee.

Carpi striker Jerry Mbakogu

Carpi striker Jerry Mbakogu

United, however, are focusing heavily on a potential deal for out-of-contract Hull City forward Abel Hernandez and have not yet pushed ahead with a plan to add Mbakogu to their squad.

Hernandez is set to leave the KCOM Stadium after four years with Hull and Leeds are confident of finding a way to fund an acceptable contract for the Uruguayan, despite him earning in the region of £40,000 at Hull.

The 28-year-old, who has returned to Uruguay after the end of the Championship term, is one of United’s main targets having helped Hull to promotion to the Premier League two years ago.

Mbakogu remains under consideration but his situation is unresolved, in spite of Carpi believing that his move to England was a formality.

Mbakogu – Nigerian-born but recently declared an Italian citizen, allowing him to switch to the Championship without requiring a work permit – has been at Carpi since 2014 having started his career with Padova. He is represented by Football Capital, the agency which Andrea Radrizzani part owned before his takeover of Leeds last summer.

Mbakogu missed much of the second half of the Serie B campaign through injury and finished Carpi’s season with six league goals to his name.

Bonacini insisted again that a transfer was likely to happen, telling Italian broadcaster TVqui: “We have signed a pre-contract with Leeds and by end of the 30th June we will have to close it.

“Unless there are some unexpected traps, he will play there next season.”

Leeds are still to secure their first signing of the summer but the club expect left-back Tom Pearce to put pen to paper on a new three-year contract when he returns from England duty at the Toulon Tournament next month.

Pearce, whose current deal expires next month, was offered an improved contract by Leeds last week after breaking into the first team and is understood to be satisfied with the terms of it. The 20-year-old flew out to Toulon with England’s Under-21s yesterday after securing his first international call-up.