LEEDS UNITED captain Liam Cooper admits he would love central defensive partner Sol Bamba to stay at the club.
Bamba’s loan duties at Leeds after joining from Serie A side Palermo are now over and it remains to be seen if the 30-year-old is offered a new deal.
The centre-half, who has made a positive impact both on the pitch and in the dressing room at Leeds, says he would like to remain at the club.
But in an impassioned interview after Saturday’s final game with Rotherham, Bamba hit out at the ‘ridiculous’ behind-the-scenes situation at United and said he was willing to risk his chance of a full-time deal by “speaking the truth.”
Cooper said: “Sol is great to play with and commands his aerial battles and I’d love him to stay.
“I have said that to him and I keep getting onto him and say: ‘Are you staying, are you staying?’
“He doesn’t know, obviously and talks will be made in the next two or three weeks and hopefully Sol will coming back for pre-season with us.
“He speaks a lot of languages and got the lads together a lot more than we were before Christmas.
“His performances have spoke volumes about himself and he is a good professional and good leader on the pitch.
“I look at Sol as a captain and maybe he looks at me as a captain, so it’s good.”
Off-the-field dramas and situations, at times, of high farce have ensured Leeds have been afforded many more unwelcome headlines this season – adding to the litany of negative press in recent years.
The most recent saw six players withdraw from the game at April 18 at Charlton citing injury.
Mirco Antenucci, Marco Silvestri, Giuseppe Bellusci, Dario del Fabro, Souleymane Doukara and Edgar Cani did not travel and none took part in the post-match lap of honour after Saturday’s game at Elland Road.
Commenting on the off-the-field situation, Cooper said: “Whatever goes on, you have got to have a pride in yourself and your team to get results, no matter what.
“Stuff can go on and it can affect certain players and individuals. But I am not using that as an excuse, I never will.
“We have got to take that on the chin and deal with that on the pitch.”