Brazilian international Heurelho Gomes is the latest player to be linked with a move to Leeds United, with the Elland Road club increasingly likely to sign a new goalkeeper if Massimo Cellino’s takeover goes through.
Gomes – out of favour and no longer wanted at Tottenham Hotspur – is one of a number of options on United’s radar as the club wait for a decision from the Football League over Cellino’s £25million buy-out.
The 33-year-old, who has not played for Spurs this season and will be out of contract at the end of the season, could join Leeds on loan for the rest of the Championship term in a move which would threaten the position of United’s current first-choice, Paddy Kenny.
Kenny holds an ever-present record this season and has played without experienced cover for several months due to a long-term toe injury suffered by Jamie Ashdown. Youngster Alex Cairns has occupied the bench since September.
Ashdown is working his way back towards full fitness having recovered from two bouts of surgery, but he is unlikely to be available until the final stages of United’s campaign.
Cellino, the Italian businessman who has agreed to buy 75 per cent of Leeds, identified another Brazilian international – Julio Cesar – as a transfer target while he and United owner Gulf Finance House negotiated his takeover last month but Cesar left Queens Park Rangers for MLS side Toronto six days ago.
Gomes, who has seen his involvement in this year’s World Cup threatened by his situation at White Hart Lane, has since emerged as an alternative option having last played for Spurs in 2011. He was sent on loan to German side Hoffenheim towards the end of last season.
Leeds are also thought to have enquired about Jack Butland, Stoke City’s England keeper, but they are not expected to complete any signings until the Football League decides whether to approve Cellino’s takeover.
The governing body has been analysing his deal for almost a fortnight and does not plan to deliver a ruling before the end of this week. Cellino requires the approval of the Football League before he and GFH can officially conclude their sale.
The delay in completion has not prevented Cellino from preparing for the start of his reign at Elland Road, and the Cagliari owner is understood to have brought at least one Italian agent to England with the League’s verdict pending.
Cellino met with manager Brian McDermott and other members of the club’s staff towards the end of last week.