Spanish playmaker Samuel Saiz set to complete £3million move to Leeds United

Thomas Christiansen
Thomas Christiansen
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Leeds United are poised to unveil Samuel Saiz as their sixth summer signing and hope to finalise a deal for Chievo striker Caleb Ekuban in the next 48 hours.

Saiz flew into England yesterday and will begin a medical this morning after protracted discussions ended in an agreement between United and the midfielder’s current club, SD Huesca.

Samuel Saiz

Samuel Saiz

Leeds finalised a £3m fee with Huesca on Friday, outbidding several La Liga clubs and clearing the way for Saiz to travel from Spain for formal talks.

The club confirmed last night that the transfer was imminent, saying: “Leeds United are pleased to confirm that a deal has been agreed with SD Huesca for the permanent transfer of Samuel Saiz. The move is subject to a medical. Head coach Thomas Christiansen is hoping to include the Spanish playmaker in his squad travelling to Austria on Friday.”

Italian forward Ekuban is likely to follow Saiz into Elland Road as Leeds step up their recruitment ahead of the new Championship season.

United owner Andrea Radrizzani, who met players and staff for a major strategy meeting yesterday, wants the bulk of the club’s transfer business concluded by the time Christiansen and his squad complete their pre-season tour of Austria with a friendly against Eibar on July 23.

Ekuban, 23, is a striker of Ghanaian descent who scored 17 goals on loan in Albania’s top division with Partizani Tirana last season.

The forward – a quick and powerful player – has been a senior player at Chievo for five years without featuring for the club’s first team. He has 12 months left on his contract and is understood to have informed Chievo of his desire to leave for England.

United plan to put Ekuban through a medical and process his transfer in time for him to join Saiz on the flight to Austria. Saiz – a natural number 10 – spent last week on holiday in Miami amid an extended delay in Leeds and Huesca concluding negotiations.

Atletico Madrid, the club who Saiz left to join Huesca in 2016, are expected to receive half of the fee paid for him due a clause in the midfielder’s Huesca contract.

His departure to Leeds was also complicated by an arrangement between Atletico and Huesca over Saiz’s economic rights.

Leeds, however, persisted in pursuing him and are in the final throes of sealing his transfer. Saiz, who arrived from Malaga airport yesterday afternoon, is expected to take up a four-year contract at Elland Road.

His 12 goals and eight assists helped Huesca to the Spanish second division play-offs last season. He previously played for Getafe and the reserve squads of both Atletico and Real Madrid and attracted interest from Eibar, Alaves and Real Betis prior to Leeds submitting a bid.

Christiansen revealed over the weekend that he expected more signings to arrive before he and his squad begin their a three-game tour of Austria. Leeds are pushing to land Lugano winger Ezgjan Alioski having stepped up their interest in the Macedonia international last week.

Meanwhile, young Leeds keeper Bailey Peacock-Farrell has started training with Oldham Athletic ahead of an expected season-long loan to Boundary Park.

Peacock-Farrell, who signed a new United contract to 2020 on Sunday, worked with Oldham yesterday morning and was due to travel with the club for the start of a training camp at the University of Bath today.

United's head coach Thomas Christiansen is having to keep his eye on the ball when it comes to injuries ahead of Leeds' trip to Queens Park Rangers on Saturday. PIC: Jonathan Gawthorpe

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