Club's sale talks put a brake on squad building
LEEDS United chairman Ken Bates says talks with potential buyers of the club are at an "advanced" stage after a crucial meeting between the two sides this week.
But the terms of the proposal put forward by Middle East interests – and the future facing Bates if a deal is reached – remain unclear despite a fresh statement issued by United's chairman and owner.
Bates confirmed advanced talks had taken place with representatives of a "banking institution" based in the Gulf region.
The bidders, who first opened serious negotiations with United four months ago, are believed to be looking to acquire a controlling interest in the club. Bates holds a 72.85 per cent stake having bought Leeds from their previous owners in April of last year.
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Leeds and the Middle Eastern consortium agreed to a joint confidentiality clause when the prospective buyers began due diligence on the club's accounts in June, but the process is still to reach completion almost three months later. The two sides' failure to strike an agreement reduced the spending power of Neil Warnock and has since hindered the manager's plans to improve his squad in the emergency loan market
Despite 11 additions in the summer, Leeds's squad looks thin. Defender Lee Peltier was forced off with a knee injury and goalkeeper Paddy Kenny played on with a groin problem in last weekend's 2-1 home win over Nottingham Forest, and both men are doubts for the City game.
Last season's top-scorer, Ross McCormack, underwent ankle surgery last week and rookie Dominic Poleon is expected to partner Argentine star Luciano Becchio up front.