According to Ross Heppenstall, Stoke City are interested in signing Leeds United club captain Liam Cooper.
The defender has only started six games out of a possible 25 for Leeds United this season due to a combination of injury and fitness issues, and the performances of Joe Rodon and Pascal Struijk in the heart of defence.
Stoke City are targeting Cooper as they see him as an ideal option to improve their squad in the January window. The Potters sit in 19th place in the Championship, just seven points above the relegation zone. Stoke have only kept six clean sheets this season, just three more than the worst defence in the league, Rotherham United.
Cooper featured in the early part of the season before sustaining an injury against Cardiff which ruled him out for just over a month. However in the past few months he has played only one game since the end of November, which was due to the absence of Pascal Struijk.
According to Heppenstall, Cooper is seeking clarity on his place under Daniel Farke in the Leeds United team. The Scotsman is in the final six months of his current deal at Elland Road. The prospect of leaving in January is an option for the player.
It is unclear whether Cooper will seek a move this January, or continue to play with The Whites as they push for promotion which means he would then leave the club in the summer as a free agent.
The 32-year old’s current deal at Leeds United expires in June 2024, with the prospect of a contract renewal less and less likely as the season progresses. This could bring an end to nearly a decade at Elland Road for Cooper, who is currently one of the longest serving players at the club.
Is time up for Cooper at Elland Road?
Liam Cooper has been a great servant for the Whites, but there is a feeling among supporters that his time has now passed.
Despite starting against West Brom recently, it seems unlikely at this stage that those in charge at Elland Road will consider giving him a new deal – especially when you consider how few games he has started this season.
Stoke would be a good move for Cooper, allowing him to take his experience to another big club while Leeds manager Daniel Farke can concentrate on building for the future.
So a move away for United’s captain is probably something that will suit all parties at this stage.