Leeds United: Warnock not giving up on signing new winger

Neil Warnock.
Neil Warnock.
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Neil Warnock hopes to sign a new winger in the emergency loan market after seeing Leeds priced out of a January deal for Birmingham City’s Chris Burke.

Warnock revealed that Leeds made approaches for both Burke and ex-United loanee Jerome Thomas on deadline day but claimed the cost of signing either player had forced him to withdraw.

Burke was expected to leave Birmingham as part of a planned fire-sale at St Andrews but the Scotland international was still on the club’s books yesterday morning after several Championship sides failed to meet his valuation.

Nottingham Forest fell short with a £500,000 bid and Warnock said Leeds had themselves made City a “substantial” offer, a proposal which also fell short of Burke’s asking price.

Birmingham were believed to be holding out for a sum in excess of £750,000. Their financial crisis easing with the £4million sale of goalkeeper Jack Butland to Stoke City.

Warnock said: “We missed out on Burke because we wouldn’t pay what they wanted. We thought it was too much for a lad who’s out of contract in the summer. We offered a substantial amount and it wasn’t enough for them to accept. I thought we made a realistic offer and Forest did the same but once Birmingham sold Butland there wasn’t the need to sell anyone else. That’s their decision.”

West Bromwich Albion’s Thomas was another winger who Warnock pursued on Thursday afternoon having marked him down as a target on the back of his prior loan at Elland Road.

The United boss admitted defeat, however, after Blackburn Rovers stepped in with a lucrative offer, though Thomas’ proposed move to Ewood Park failed to materialise before the 11pm deadline.

Warnock said: “I spoke to him but he was going to Blackburn Rovers for a fantastic deal. They were paying £600,000 for him and even with the wages, I don’t think Leeds should be paying that sort of money out at the moment. We’ve got to be a bit realistic and try and get a target over the next few weeks.

“We’re still on the look out for a wide man and we’ve already got one or two ideas. It’s just being able to get them out of their clubs. But it’s not the end of the world. We’ve got players who can play in that role, just not out-and-out wingers like Jerome Thomas.”

The Football League’s emergency loan market opens on Friday, eight days on from the end of the January window.

Warnock completed three signings on deadline day, bringing in striker Steve Morison from Norwich City, left-back Stephen Warnock from Aston Villa and forward Habib Habibou from Belgian side SV Zulte Waregem.

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