Yorkshire Evening Post 1/12/12
By Phil Hay
Neil Warnock remains hopeful of agreeing a new contract with El-Hadji Diouf, with Leeds United’s new owners promising to back his bid to keep the striker at Elland Road.
Warnock confirmed today that Leeds have renewed discussions with Diouf’s agent in an effort to resolve the 31-year-old’s future before his existing deal expires next month.
United have already failed with an initial offer to Diouf – an offer which the ex-Liverpool player rejected at the end of October – but the takeover of Leeds finalised by GFH Capital 10 days ago has raised expectation of a fresh agreement.
Diouf is currently earning £5,000 a week having come to Elland Road on a half-season deal in September. He was a free agent at the time and took up a heavily-reduced wage despite receiving more lucrative offers from the Middle East.
But having impressed throughout the first half of the Championship season, Diouf is pushing for a deal which will move him in line with United’s higher earners, and fresh talks between agent Willie McKay and Leeds chief executive Shaun Harvey could see Diouf’s signature secured before the January transfer window.
Warnock, United’s manager, said: “I spoke to Shaun and I believe he’s speaking to Willie McKay again so there’ll possibly be something to come on that.
“I want him to stay and I think they (GFH Capital) would as well. They’re in agreement about that.”
McKay recently claimed that Diouf’s form had generated interest from two Premier League clubs who were keen to recruit him when the winter transfer window opened but the forward is expected to sign a new contract at Elland Road if Leeds meet his wage demands.
United’s financial position has been strengthened by the virtual completion of GFH Capital’s buy-out and an investment of funds by the Dubai-based firm last week.
An ownership statement published by Leeds revealed that GFH Capital has acquired a 33.33 per cent stake in Leeds City Holdings Limited – United’s parent company – and will complete a 100 per cent takeover in around four weeks’ time.
GFH Capital is buying Leeds with LUFC Holding Limited, a newly-created firm based off-shore in the Cayman Islands.