By Richard Parks
Thomas Christiansen has confessed that Andy Lonergan made a last-minute transfer U-turn just when he was on the verge of joining Sunderland – and fans have taken to Twitter to deliver mixed verdicts.
Speaking at his media briefing on Friday, as quoted by the personal Twitter account of BBC Radio Leeds journalist Adam Pope, Christiansen admitted that the goalkeeper, 34, was close to leaving amid widespread speculation he headed to Sunderland on Tuesday night to undergo a medical.
Reports suggested that the deal collapsed because Lonergan rejected the contract offered by the Championship relegation strugglers.
Christiansen has now admitted that the number two to first choice Felix Wiedwald was close to permanently quitting but made a U-turn late in the day.
“Finally he decided he wanted to stay here with us and not Sunderland. We welcome him with open arms,” said Christiansen, as quoted by Pope on Twitter.
TC on Lonergan: “Finally he decided he wanted to stay here with us and not Sunderland. We welcome him with open arms.” #lufc
— Adam Pope (@APOPEY) February 2, 2018
Some Leeds fans are less than enthused at the prospect of Lonergan being the only senior back-up to Wiedwald after a number of errors from him earlier in the season.
One urged Christiansen “just tell the truth” about why the veteran’s move to Sunderland collapsed, while another stated it would be “stupid to involve him now”.
However, some supporters claimed that Lonergan could not be blamed for wanting regular first-team football at his age.
Here is a selection of the best messages on Twitter:
Stop painting the pretty picture all the time just tell the truth
— Ron (@ronaallleeds) February 2, 2018
If he wanted to stay he wouldn’t of gone up there for talks, not good enough anyway !!!!!
— kevosler (@kevosler) February 2, 2018
Open arms with a pointer to the door, stupid to involve him now,
— Mark (@MarkSheppy67) February 2, 2018
Why? He was offered first team football and we wouldn’t stand in his way at his age. Not our fault the terms weren’t suitable for him.
— Stu (Stoopo) (@stoopo) February 2, 2018
Oh dear. If TC’s hands are as secure as Loner’s that will end with Loner’s in a heap on the floor…
— Morphoolu (@Morphoolu) February 2, 2018
Didn’t want to get relegated. Fair dos
— mathew hibbert (@matteohib94) February 2, 2018
Lonergan has made nine appearances for Leeds since joining on a free transfer from Wolves last summer.
But he has not played since November after Wiedwald reclaimed the number one jersey that he had been handed when he signed from Werder Bremen.
Wiedwald is expected to continue in goal when Leeds face Cardiff City at Elland Road tomorrow (Saturday).
In other Leeds United transfer news, it can be revealed that a centre-forward who has player for the team this season has had his contract terminated.