Leeds United looking for new goal scorer after McCormack departure

Kissing goodbye: Ross McCormack.
Kissing goodbye: Ross McCormack.

The hunt is now on for a replacement for star striker Ross McCormack after his transfer saga finally came to a conclusion yesterday.

The will he, won’t he go story has rumbled on all summer with the player handing in a transfer request and United saying last week that he was not for sale.

It looked like a stand-off had developed between a player determined to leave and an owner who would not let him do so until he received an offer he believed to be correct for his valuation.

But suddenly the solution was found as Fulham upped their initial £5 million bid and Massimo Cellino agreed to let McCormack head south.

The final fee is not being disclosed, but it is believed Fulham have ended up paying £11 million for the man they think can shoot them straight back into the Premiership after they were relegated last season with McCormack signing a four-year deal.

Whatever the final figure, it does give Leeds some spending power now as they look to rebuild.

They are still left with four first team strikers in Matt Smith, Dominic Poleon, Noel Hunt and Steve Morison, back after his year on loan with Millwall, but will need to find a new McCormack if they are to challenge in the Championship next season.

Simply without McCormack’s goals United would have been relegated last term so they need to find a 20-plus goal-scorer to supplement what they have at the club.

Every other area of the team also needs some improvement and it will be interesting to see if Cellino chooses to spend the McCormack money or whether Leeds will continue to be looking in the bargain basement.

United have been linked with several players from abroad, the latest being Swiss defender Jonathan Rossini, who plays currently for Italian club Sassuolo and was formerly at Sampdoria and Udinese.

The first actual signing of the summer was made last week with former Arsenal and Reading goalkeeper Stuart Taylor brought in on a free transfer. He joined the squad training in Italy and the team out there was also bolstered by the arrival of Rudy Austin

Jamaican midfielder Austin did not travel initially because of visa problems, but they are sorted out now and he was welcomed by his team-mates in Santa Cristina.

Leeds head coach David Hockaday said: “We are delighted that Rudy has joined us. He wasn’t able to travel with us, but we have now managed to get him over.

“He got a great welcome from the players and the staff because he is a very popular and important member of our playing staff. He is now here and has trained and it is as if he has never been away.”

Leeds play their first pre-season game tomorrow when they take on FC Gherdeina at the Mulin De Coi, in Val Gardina (5.30pm). They then take on Romanian side FC Viitorul Constanta on Sunday at the same venue and kick-off time.