By Alex Stevens
Hadi Sacko has revealed he held extensive talks with Leeds captain Sol Bamba before joining the club last week.
The 22-year-old winger linked up with the Championship club at their training camp in Ireland 10 days ago after completing a season-long loan from Sporting Lisbon.
Sacko has explained the role played by centre-back Bamba and midfield enforcer Toumani Diagouraga in persuading him to make the move to Elland Road.
“My agent called me to say there might be an interest from Leeds,” Sacko told the official Leeds website. “I’d watched quite a few games and I’ve talked with Sol – I think the league is good for me.
“We did the deal quite quickly and then I arrived the day before we went to pre-season, so that was perfect for me. The goal was to come here as quickly as possible for the pre-season tour so I could spend time with my new team-mates and get to know them.
“I had all my stuff ready in a case to come to Ireland and, as soon as I got the call, I went to the airport in Portugal. I got a plane to Manchester, the club put me in a hotel and then the next day I was on a plane to Ireland with everybody.”
Sacko has been with Sporting for two years following a £1million move from Bordeaux in 2014 but he is yet to establish himself in their senior side and spent the second half of the 2015-16 season on loan with second-tier French club Sochaux, where he scored twice from 14 appearances.
Nevertheless, Sacko, who plays predominantly on the right wing, is a player of pedigree and has won five France Under-20 caps.
He revealed he has settled in well due to his past associations with two of his new colleagues.
“I’ve been lucky to be with Toumani Diagouraga – we grew up in the same building in the suburbs of Paris,” added the winger to the Leeds website. “I was on the second floor of the building and he was on the fourth floor until Toums left to go to Watford.
“He used to come back quite often so we saw each other quite a lot even when he was playing in England. I grew up with Toums, so that made it easier for me here.
“I also know Sol really well because we have the same agent. We also saw each other during our holidays.”