Leeds United: Whites close in on deal for ace Bamba

Sol Bamba
Sol Bamba
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SOL Bamba is close to completing a permanent move to Leeds United, Adam Pearson has revealed.

The 30-year-old defender, integral during United’s renaissance in the second half of last term, is likely to pen to paper shortly, with other signings also in the pipeline during the close season, according to executive director Pearson.

Bamba moved to United on loan from Serie A side Palermo in January, with a view to a permanent deal – with his days at the Sicilian club all but numbered.

The big centre-half is one year into a three-year deal at Palermo but only made one league appearance since joining from Trabzonspor last August and Palermo are willing to allow him to leave.

The former Leicester City defender made 19 appearances for Leeds last term and despite causing controversy after openly criticising Leeds owner Massimo Cellino towards the end of season for sacking assistant manager Steve Thompson and his treatment of former head coach Neil Redfearn, the club tabled recently tabled a new offer.

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This came after reports that Bamba had rejected an offer to make his temporary move permanent, but all parties have remained in talks since.

Pearson said: “The player is really keen to come. So if at the end of the day, if the player is keen to come and the terms are agreed, then the final knockings and thrashings between clubs usually get sorted out.

“Usually what scuppers a deal is an agent or a player and in this case, they are keen to come here.

“We are certainly keen to have him back here, so with that commitment, I would think it will probably happen.”

Pearson also confirmed that Leeds’ new head of recruitment Martin Glover and head coach Uwe Rosler are working hard on several other deals, following the club’s capture of ex-Motherwell striker Lee Erwin and former Cardiff City goalkeeper Charlie Horton.

On the potential for other signings in the near future, Pearson said: “They are in the pipeline.

“There are discussions and what ifs going on across the board with various players and agents and I am sure those signings will start to come through in the coming weeks.

“It’s a good solid start and it needs three to four more good proven players to come through and then I think we have a good chance of competing.”

Glover’s arrival as recruitment supremo after leaving an identical role at West Ham is the latest backroom addition at Elland Road following the appointment of club secretary Stuart Hayton and assistant-manager Rob Kelly.

And Pearson believes that the addition of Glover is further good news for the club with the feel-good factor growing at Leeds.

Pearson added: “Martyn has had extensive experience at West Ham and Blackburn before, predominantly with Sam Allardyce, but working as a buffer between management and board level.

“He’s got great experience and also knows the Championship and European markets well.

“He is a really strong addition to the team and him and Uwe are working hard as we speak.”

Meanwhile, United have been handed their third Capital One Cup trip to Doncaster Rovers in four years following yesterday’s first-round draw.

The derby tie sees Uwe Rosler handed a reunion with former Manchester City team-mate and ex-Leeds loanee Paul Dickov, boss at Doncaster and his assistant Brian Horton, who bought the German over to English football with City in 1994.

The Keepmoat Stadium clash will also be a sentimental one for Doncaster-born Alex Mowatt, who made his debut at his hometown club in a second-round tie there in August 2013 which Leeds won 3-1, while Billy Sharp also returns to his old side.

Leeds also triumphed in a round two clash in Doncaster in August 2011, with Ramon Nunez netting twice in a 2-1 success.

United, whose Championship fixtures for next season will be published this morning, have never been beaten in six outings at the Keepmoat, winning five and you have to go back to August 1951 for the last time Doncaster beat Leeds on home soil.

The away trip is the first time in six years that Leeds have been handed a first-round away assignment in the competition, with the Whites having never lost at the first round stage in the competition’s 54-year history.

Leeds’ tie at Rovers will be played in the week commencing August 10, 2015.