Leeds United: Evans coy on Lafferty interest

Kyle Lafferty, of Norwich City, is wanted by Leeds United
Kyle Lafferty, of Norwich City, is wanted by Leeds United
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STEVE EVANS has refused to confirm that Leeds United will make a fresh bid to sign Kyle Lafferty in the emergency loan window and will re-assess the situation after this weekend’s Championship hosting of Nottingham Forest.

United attempted to take striker Lafferty on loan from Norwich City on transfer deadline day but failed to strike a deal with the Canaries who had been holding out to sell the forward on a permanent deal.

Northern Ireland's Kyle Lafferty

Northern Ireland's Kyle Lafferty

But head coach Evans remains short of options upfront having also failed to land former Middlesbrough striker Kike who instead signed for La Liga side Eibar – on a late deal which forbids him from playing this season – while Crystal Palace also refused to let Fraizer Campbell leave on loan.

Leeds are also known to have offered £300,000 for Barnsley striker Sam Winnall, a fee the Tykes saw as derisory.

Norwich, though, are happy for Lafferty to leave Carrow Road should a deal be struck for his services and the opening of Tuesday’s emergency loan window offers United a fresh chance to make a new approach for the Northern Ireland international who badly needs gametime in the run-up to Euro 2016.

Evans said: “I can’t really rule it in because I don’t know what Alex Neil’s thoughts would be and we will have to revisit whether it would be right for us to do it on a short term as opposed to the end of the season that we wanted to do.

“Since the window closed on Monday we have never gone back in for players who we almost got, or who we didn’t get.

“We quickly moved on and the focus has to be on Nottingham Forest on Saturday and the window doesn’t re-open until the early part of next week, anyway.

“There were one or two that we had in mind but obviously one of them has now gone to Spain in a bizarre case that he cannot play, but these things happen and there are one or two others that we like but we’d have to have the other clubs be willing to let them come here.

“What we tried to do with loan deals in January is almost dovetail it so that there would be here beyond January with obviously a clear option on our side.

“I’m not against doing business and if it’s right then I’ll propose to the president that we do it.”

United will again be without striker £3million Chris Wood this weekend who has picked up a fresh hamstring injury, exercising the need for more striking options.

The Whites head coach is also adamant that the full money from Sam Byram’s sale to West Ham remains available –and more.

Evans explained: “We tried as best as we can to get a couple in but it never quite came together but I don’t see the January transfer window as ever a time where it can be fair in terms of what you pay and what you don’t pay.

“I think it’s an inflated market in January and I think we have seen that with some of the deals that have been.

“I think when you retain Liam Bridcutt and you bring in Toumani (Digaouraga) and Mustapha (Carayol) then you’re pleased.

“We’d have liked to have had a striker or two in the building as well, in addition to what we’ve got, but we couldn’t do it for different reasons on two occasions so we have to respect the reasons were the right reasons and not anything other. We’d have liked to have strengthened further, I think from me and the owner there’s no doubt we’d have liked to have done that.

“But I 100 per cent believe that the Leeds fans don’t want us to go and put our club at risk.

“This club has been at risk in the past and if it hadn’t have been for the current owner it might be not be here in the format that it’s in.

“I accept the disappointment but we don’t want to go down a road where we are signing players that are just the same as what we have got or not good enough and I think everyone would accept that has happened too many times.”

Asked if the Byram money had been available, Evans insisted: “Absolutely. You have to be in the building to realise that but there was never a move that didn’t happen because of a lack of money, unless it isn’t sensible for the football club, and it has to sensible.

“We have a dressing room that has got a good parity in it in terms of wage structure et cetera and we need to protect that.

“And we have got some young men that we need to invest in as well so that takes a portion of it.

“And, when you bring the likes of Liam Bridcutt in, and Toumani and Carayol and people like that, they don’t come for £2.50 a week.”