By Tom Blackburn

Leeds have dropped a major transfer hint by leaving the number 26 shirt free – suggesting they expect to sign Liam Bridcutt.

Sunderland midfielder Bridcutt wore the 26 jersey while on loan at Leeds last season, and also wore it at his former club Brighton.

Leeds announced the squad numbers via Twitter on Friday, with new signing Marcus Antonsson taking the number 10 shirt but the main attention was taken by the unoccupied number 26 shirt.

Midfield enforcer Bridcutt spent last season on loan at Elland Road and became a key player in the Steve Evans side that finished 13th in the Championship.

Leeds have been keen to make Bridcutt’s loan a permanent move all summer after first being reported with an interest back in June by the Yorkshire Evening Post.

The Yorkshire giants have yet to clinch the deal but Radio Yorkshire’s Joe Rawson suggested on his personal Twitter account on Thursday night that Leeds remain “confident” of signing Bridcutt from Sunderland within the “next few days”.

Replying to a Twitter follower who claimed the former Chelsea trainee is on £26,000-a-week at Sunderland and it was proving difficult to meet his salary demands, Rawson said “nail hit on the head” but still spoke of Leeds’ confidence in pushing through the deal before their Championship opener against QPR on Sunday.

Bridcutt, who has less than 12 months left on his contract at the Stadium of Light, has made just 30 Premier league appearances for the Black Cats after signing in 2013.

Garry Monk has been very active in the market this summer and is looking to continue his Elland Road revolution, as he aims to return the Yorkshire giants back to the top flight of football.

Monk has made seven senior signings so far, bringing in Rob Green, Kyle Bartley, Matt Grimes, Hadi Sacko, Kemar Roofe, Antonsson and Pablo Hernandez.

In other Leeds transfer news, following his exit from the club a defender has secured a new deal.