cooper confirmed & agard next as leeds do-over the summerBack
Liam Cooper has become signing number ten of the summer at Leeds United, after defeat to Millwall appears to have inspired a transfer rethink.
Cooper follows Billy Sharp and Giuseppe Bellusci into the club this week, all three players that Leeds had looked at earlier in the summer but without completing any deals.
At first Leeds refused to bid higher than £450k for Cooper, and announced “any interest in the player has now ended”; a deal with Catania for Bellusci collapsed in mid-July due to the player’s wage demands; while only two weeks ago Massimo Cellino told his favoured journalist Simon Austin that he “wasn’t interested” in Billy Sharp.
All three are now United players, with a rethink presumably required after Cellino watched the opening day defeat to Millwall; the sale of Tom Lees to Sheffield Wednesday also made defensive reinforcements a priority.
Frederik Sorensen initially looked like the tailor-made new Lees, but that was another deal that failed at the last moment; Leeds have doubled their centre-back options since in the shape of Bellusci and Cooper.
Cooper was highly regarded at Chesterfield and has the right Yorkshire credentials to slot into Lees’ old spot alongside new captain Jason Pearce; described as a tough, left-footed centre-half, he is also comfortable with the ball at his feet and weighs in with three or four goals a season.
He was believed to have caught Leeds sporting-director Nicola Salerno’s eye in Leeds’ pre-season friendly at Chesterfield, but Salerno’s involvement in the recent flurry of transfers is uncertain following reports in Italy on Tuesday that he was considering his position.
The sudden completion of previously collapsed transfers has coincided with Massimo Cellino’s return from holiday, and the source of the players has changed too, from the Italian leagues to English; latest reports suggest Leeds want to make Rotherham forward Kieran Agard signing number eleven, a player Leeds – and Cellino – watched last season, before Salerno was in post.