Leeds United eye two new faces after Alex Mowatt joins Barnsley

Alex Mowatt
Alex Mowatt
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HEAD coach Garry Monk is expecting at least two new arrivals at Leeds United following midfielder Alex Mowatt’s switch to Barnsley for an undisclosed fee.

Mowatt has struggled to find a place in Monk’s thriving team and the midfielder who is out of contract in the summer joined Barnsley yesterday on an two-and-a-half year deal.

And speaking ahead of tomorrow’s third round FA Cup clash at Sutton United, Monk admitted that he anticipated new arrivals at Elland Road to follow as a result.

The Whites head coach said he saw no problem with 21-year-old Mowatt departing, but only if at least two new arrivals were on their way in before the closure of the transfer window on Tuesday evening.

“It was something that I was made aware of a couple of days ago – that there was interest in him,” said Monk.

“And then I was told it was pretty much far down the line so I can only assume that that means that the club are 100 per cent sure that the players that we have identified and that we have requested to come and help strengthen will be here.

“If that’s the case then no problem. The most important bit for me in this window is that we strengthen the squad, that we don’t weaken it.

“I can only assume that the club are 100 per cent sure that the players that we have talked about are going to come through the door as soon as possible.

“Alex has been fantastic. He’s great to work with and obviously from his playing perspective it will be that he has not

had as much game time as he’d have liked.

“But my focus is on making sure we have a squad that is strong enough and competitive enough in terms of bodies and quality which is the most important bit to go forward for the rest of the season.

“I’m hoping now that those players that we have identified and targeted come through the door.”

Asked if he now expected two players to arrive before the close of play on Tuesday, Monk admitted: “Yes. We definitely need two in but it will only be players that can help us and strengthen us and add quality. It’s important that we strengthen the squad and I am sure then that the club are 100 per cent sure that those players will come through.”

Monk is believed to be keen on West Ham United’s 21-year-old Keighley-born striker Ashley Fletcher as well as Norwich City’s 19-year-old Spanish winger Sergi Canos.

The Whites have also been linked with Grimsby Town’s 23-year-old striker Omar Bogle who is top scorer in League Two.

And Leeds also now have the option to sign Swedish international centre-back Pontus Jansson now that the on loan defender has played the 22 games he needed to feature in to give United the option to sign the 25-year-old on a permanent deal from Serie A side Torino.

Monk said: “Obviously he has reached the target that was agreed between the clubs and of course we all want Pontus to be here, as do the club and Pontus himself wants to be here. So I am sure that the club will take care of all of that internally and do it when it’s right between all parties.

“I’m sure that will be finalised. It’s not a problem, it’s not a big focus and I am sure all of that will be taken care of.”

Monk also insisted that there had been no enquiries in any of his first team regulars, including Charlie Taylor or Chris Wood.

Taylor handed in a transfer request last summer and will see his Leeds contract expire at the end of the season while Wood has proved a revelation this season having already netted 20 goals for the current campaign.

The striker’s form is rumoured to have attracted the interest of Chinese Premier League side Tianjin Quanjian as well as West Ham and Sunderland.

Asked if there had been any interest, Monk insisted: “Nothing at all. We need to strengthen, that’s the most important bit, for myself and for the group and for this club - that we strengthen.

“I am pretty sure now that the club are 100 per cent confident that they can bring in the targets that we have discussed and they will add quality to what we have already got.”