By Alex Taylor

Sol Bamba has delivered a Leeds bombshell by quitting the club just hours after the transfer window shut, it was announced on Thursday afternoon.

In a shock move, Bamba will exit Elland Road even though he is the club captain and was contracted to the Championship outfit until next summer.

Leeds released a statement on their official website to explain the centre-back has “left the club by mutual consent due to personal reasons”.

The abruptness of Bamba’s exit will be a major surprise to supporters given his seniority in the team.

The 31-year-old has lost his first-team place in recent weeks and was omitted from Garry Monk’s squad last Saturday to face Nottingham Forest, a game they lost 3-1.

But he has been a regular for the last 18 months and had made 56 appearances for the club.

Leeds released a short statement on their website. “The club would like to thank Sol for his contribution throughout his time here and wish him the very best of luck for the future,” it read.

The former Leicester man was considered the team’s fourth-choice centre-back behind Liam Cooper and loanees Kyle Bartley and Pontus Jansson, who joined this summer from Swansea and Torino respectively.

The 49-time international, who has come under criticism for his performances this season, was integral last term. Leeds’ number three made 33 appearances in league and cup encounters, scoring four goals.

Bamba has enjoyed a varied career since he signed for Paris Saint-Germain in 2004, playing for Leicester, Palermo and Trabzonspor before he joined Leeds.

In other Leeds transfer news, this former captain has signed with Leeds’ Yorkshire rivals.