Leeds United will seal the loan signing of long-term target Will Buckley next week after turning their attention back to the Sunderland winger.
United have finalised a deal to take Buckley on a 93-day emergency loan –but the club plan to delay the move until after Sunday’s trip to Middlesbrough to ensure that his loan runs to the start of the January transfer window.
Leeds, who yesterday tied right-back Gaetano Berardi to a new contract, expect Buckley to link up with them for training this morning following productive talks with Sunderland in the past 48 hours.
The clubs have agreed that Buckley will work at Thorp Arch until Leeds formally conclude the signing a week on Friday, in time for him to make his debut at home to Birmingham City on October 3.
Football League rules limit emergency loans to a maximum of 93 days and a transfer this week would have seen Buckley return to Sunderland during the busy Christmas schedule.
The 25-year-old has been on the radar of United head coach Uwe Rosler for a number of months and he was the subject of firm interest from Leeds during the summer transfer window, including an approach five days before the window closed.
Buckley’s wage – understood to be in excess of £20,000 – complicated attempts to sign him permanently, despite Sunderland manager Dick Advocaat informing him that he would not be involved in the club’s Premier League season.
Leeds signed two wingers during the recent FIFA window, Stuart Dallas from Brentford and Jordan Botaka from Excelsior in Holland, but Rosler remained keen to bring in an additional option.
Buckley has extensive experience of the Championship having amassed more than 100 appearances in the division with Watford and Brighton.
Sunderland paid around £1.5m to take him from Brighton a year ago but he has slipped out of favour since the coach who recruited him, Gus Poyet, was sacked last season. He has not played for Sunderland this term.
News of Buckley’s impending arrival came shortly after Leeds announced an extension of Berardi’s contract at Elland Road.
The Swiss right-back has increased his current deal by a further two seasons, tying him down until the summer of 2018.
Berardi has been a regular in United’s line-up this season, though Rosler chose to rest him during Saturday’s 2-1 win at MK Dons.
The former Sampdoria player said: “I’m very happy here. We are a team this season after many changes last season. We are a very good group together - that is important.
“Last season the first two or three months were difficult for me and for the other new players. This time I started the pre-season and that is very important. My body is better and I feel fitter. I’ve been playing right-back, which is my position.”
Berardi’s place in the side was taken by Scott Wootton at MK Dons, with Rosler reluctant to force him through a third game in eight days.
Rosler said: “On the right I had the luxury to give Gaetano a rest. The last time we had three games in a week, Gaetano played only two. He missed Bristol City and that did him good.
“I wanted to refresh him and I had a talk with him. He gave me honest feedback. Scott Wootton was rock solid.”