Leeds United swoop for Pedraza and Barrow before window shuts

Alfredo Pedraza
Alfredo Pedraza
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Leeds United bolstered their attacking options before last night’s transfer deadline with loans deals for wingers Alfonso Pedraza and Modou Barrow.

The club sealed both transfers in the last seven hours of the January window, landing Pedraza from Villarreal and Barrow from Swansea City until the end of the season.

Pedraza has joined Leeds on a deal which could become permanent in the summer while the arrival of Barrow re-unites him with a head coach in Garry Monk who signed him as manager of Swansea from Swedish club Ostersunds in 2014.

Monk, however, drew a blank in his search for an out-and-out centre forward after West Ham United pulled the plug on offers for Ashley Fletcher.

Leeds trailed Fletcher throughout January, hoping the arrival of new strikers at the London Stadium would allow them to take the Keighley-born 21-year-old, but West Ham manager Slaven Bilic ruled out any chance of Fletcher leaving having first vetoed a plan to sign Scott Hogan from Brentford.

United reacted by moving in to sign Barrow who had been previously been targeted by Newcastle United amid doubts about whether the Tyneside club would strike a deal for Crystal Palace’s Andros Townsend.

Barrow, a pacey Gambia international who has played up front in his career, made 18 Premier League appearances for Swansea in the first half of this season but was allowed to go out on loan after recent backroom changes at the Liberty Stadium.

He and Pedraza were registered too late to feature in Leeds’ Championship game at Blackburn Rovers tonight but will be eligible for Sunday’s Yorkshire derby at Huddersfield Town.

The signing of Spain Under-21 international Pedraza came after Leeds met the cost of buying him Pedraza out of a prior loan deal at Spanish second division side Lugo, a fee in the region of £300,000. United will pay around £8.5m to sign Pedraza permanently if they win promotion to the Premier League in May.

The 20-year-old said: “I’m very grateful for this new opportunity to continue to progress as a footballer. It’s a great dream for me to land in English football and especially at a club as historic as Leeds United.”

Lugo were persuaded to break Pedraza’s loan after his appearance in a league game against Real Zaragoza on Sunday evening, a few hours on from Leeds’ FA Cup defeat to Sutton United. Pedraza produced six goals and eight assists in 23 outings for Lugo.

He and Barrow fulfilled Monk’s demand for new wide options in January but having missed out on striker targets before the end of the summer window in August, United’s head coach arrived at last night’s deadline minus additional back-up for top scorer and 20-goal forward Wood.

Monk had sought to limit the additions to a squad who have held a Championship play-off position for almost three months and wanted to avoid disrupting what he saw as a tight-knit group but he left no doubt that cover was needed for his first-choice lone striker.

Speaking in mid-December after Wood suffered a minor hamstring strain in a 2-0 win over Reading, Monk said: “Striker’s one area, definitely. I said that in the summer and it’s one area we need to strengthen.”

Last night’s 11pm cut-off passed without any announcement on the long-term future of on-loan Torino centre-back Pontus Jansson but Leeds are set to officially seal his permanent move to Elland Road at the end of this season.

United have agreed a fee of £3.5m with Torino and finalised a contract with Jansson, understood to run to the summer of 2020. The club’s option to sign him permanently - activated by his 22nd appearance against Nottingham Forest last week - remains in place until the end of Jansson’s year-long loan and Leeds intend to formally trigger it before it expires in June.

Monk, meanwhile, emerged from the transfer window with left-back Charlie Taylor at his disposal having promising at the start of January that the defender would not be sold.

Taylor, who is continuing to interest Liverpool and West Brom with his deal due to expire on June 30, carried an Achilles injury through January and last played in a 1-0 victory over Brentford in mid-December.

The past month saw Alex Mowatt leave Elland Road in a £600,000 move to Barnsley while Luke Murphy and Toumani Diagouraga accepted half-season loans to Burton Albion and Ipswich Town respectively.

With the deadline behind him, Monk takes Leeds to Blackburn this evening to resume their Championship campaign after Sunday’s unflattering FA Cup defeat at non-league Sutton United.

Centre-back Liam Cooper serves a one-match ban following his late red card at Gander Green Lane.

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