COMMENT By Will Butcher

Leeds have 27 first-team stars on the books at Elland Road and could make room in January for new signings by offloading some players to free up space on the wage bill.

If Garry Monk does opt for a mid-season transfer exodus, these are the five players that could be axed in less than two months’ time:

Alex Mowatt

The homegrown star has failed to live up to the hype at Elland Road after busting onto the scene two years ago with an incredible ability to shoot from long range with his powerful left foot.

But with his contract set to expire next summer, Mowatt has found himself far down the pecking order as Pablo Hernandez and Matt Grimes sit ahead of him.

Gaetano Berardi

A first-team regular last term, the one-time Switzerland international suffered a hamstring tear in the opening game, as Leeds lost 3-0 to QPR.

But with Monk starting Luke Ayling, and his publicly known fondness of youngster Lewie Coyle, Berardi may find himself as third-choice right-back at Elland Road, which could prompt a move away.

Luke Murphy

It is of no surprise to see Murphy’s name on this five-man list. The former Crewe man has been ousted by manager Monk after bringing in Eunan O’Kane and Liam Bridcutt on a permanent basis.

Despite trying to resurrect his career in the development side, Murphy is likely to be told he can leave Elland Road in January as his career begins to stagnate under Monk.

Toumani Digaouraga

Similarly to Murphy, Diagouraga has been looking to reignite his Elland Road career with Jason Blunt’s Under-23 side.

However, Monk has ignored the former Brentford man’s claims, despite the Frenchman only moving to Yorkshire in January. The midfielder was rumoured to be interesting Rotherham and Rangers in the summer, and a January move could materialise.

Ross Turnbull

The winner of a Champions League medal, but now fourth-choice goalkeeper at Elland Road. Turnbull is expected to leave Elland Road with Rob Green, Marco Silvestri and Bailey Peacock-Farrell all ahead of him.

Like Mowatt, the shot-stopper’s contract ends in the summer, and is likely to be available to leave Elland Road on a free in January.

In other Leeds transfer news, the Yorkshire giants should sign one of these three players in January.