Leeds United manager Simon Grayson hailed the capture of “fantastic pedigree” after winning the race to land Finnish midfielder Mika Vayrynen..
United have recruited Vayrynen on a permanent deal until the end of the season, with the option of the second, and the Elland Road club could follow up his arrival with the belated signing of Danny Pugh on loan from Stoke City.
Pugh remains on Grayson’s list of targets after a failed bid to bring him to Leeds ahead of the August transfer deadline but United’s attempts to strengthen their midfield ranks produced a positive result yesterday with confirmation of Vayrynen’s arrival at Elland Road.
The 29-year-old – a former PSV Eindhoven player – was approached by Leeds over the weekend and opted for a move to England despite firm interest in him from Austrian club Red Bull Salzburg.
Grayson said: “There were good offers from other clubs on the continent but he turned them down because of his ambition to play for Leeds.
“He’s an experienced midfielder and he’s got fantastic pedigree.”
Vayrynen was out of contract and available on a free transfer after reaching the end of his deal with Dutch side SC Heerenveen, and Leeds were anxious to strengthen their choice of central midfielders ahead of Saturday’s meeting with Bristol City.
United have a fitness doubt over Adam Clayton, who missed last weekend’s victory over Crystal Palace due to a calf injury, and manager Simon Grayson fielded Michael Brown in a 3-2 win despite seeing the 34-year-old return to full training just two days earlier. Jonathan Howson was the only other central midfielder available to Grayson before Vayrynen’s arrival, but yesterday’s deal has bolstered Grayson’s squad with a Finland international who has played more than 50 times for his national side.
Vayrynen spent three years with PSV between 2005 and 2008 and recently concluded an identical stint with Heerenveen.
Grayson said: “He can play as an attacking midfielder or a holding midfielder and he’s delighted to get the opportunity here.”
The signing is unlikely to signal the end of Grayson’s search for new players, however, and Pugh’s return to Elland Road might still be on the cards.
The former United midfielder was targeted by Leeds before the end of the summer transfer window, and Grayson has been working to recruit him on a temporary basis ever since the Football League’s emergency loan market opened last Thursday.
Leeds striker Luciano Becchio, meanwhile, stepped up his match fitness with another outing for United’s reserves yesterday.
The Argentinian, who made his first senior appearance of the season against Palace, featured in a behind-closed-doors friendly against Burnley at Thorp Arch, scoring once in a 2-1 win. Defender Leigh Bromby claimed the other Leeds goal.