Leeds United deal for Cooper 'dead in the water,' Hockaday reveals

Leeds United East Stand

David Hockaday has revealed that Liam Cooper's proposed transfer is off and also spoke on Tom Lees' departure from Elland Road

Leeds United head coach David Hockaday has revealed that the Whites have pulled out of the race to sign Chesterfield’s Liam Cooper as the League One side were asking for too much money.

Leeds had targeted signing Cooper, who was a mainstay in Chesterfield’s League Two promotion winning team, as a replacement for Tom Lees, who departed for Sheffield Wednesday this morning, but are refusing to pay the Spireites’ asking price.

It is thought that Chesterfield were asking for £1 million for the 22-year-old centre-back and the Yorkshire club were only prepared to pay around half of that to secure his services, with Hockaday confirming the deal was “dead in the water” at a press conference today.

The former Forest Green boss also spoke about Lees’ departure saying that he felt that the defender’s body language had suggested that he needed a new challenge.

"He feels like he needs a fresh start and his body language portrayed that to me at times. But he's been good as gold,” Hockaday revealed.

"I’ve talked to him at length and it was very obvious to him and to me that it was the right time for him to move on."

There are conflicting reports about the price that Lees cost Wednesday, with Leeds announcing it was for an ‘undisclosed fee’ today, but Owls manager, Stuart Gray, suggesting it was a free transfer last night.

Whoever you believe, there is a feeling around Elland Road that he has been allowed to go too cheaply given he is still a talented, young defender with plenty of experience.

The 23-year-old has struggled to make a positive impression at Leeds in recent times, but there is still a hope that he could develop into a top player after the promise he showed at an early age.

In terms of other incoming transfers, Hockaday was non-committal, but reports suggest that they are very close to agreeing a deal to bring in Roma’s Federico Viviani and AC Milan’s Zan Benedicic on loan, whilst their search for a centre-back is set to continue following the breakdown in talks over Cooper.

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