EXCLUSIVE By Pete O’Rourke

Leeds United have opened preliminary talks with Brighton over a deal to sign midfielder Oliver Norwood, Football Insider sources understands.

The Yorkshire giants have turned their attention to landing the Northern Ireland international, 27, after selling Ronaldo Vieira to Sampdoria this week and losing Adam Forshaw to an injury that will rule him out for at least six weeks.

A well-placed source has told Football Insider that  Leeds are working to beat Swansea City to the signature of Norwood, who has also been the subject of two failed bids from Hull City this summer, and discussions with third parties are now underway.

Manager Marcelo Bielsa is keen for the team’s central midfield ranks to be reinforced before the permanent transfer window shuts on 9 August.

Norwood is proven in the Championship and has been in consecutive promotion-winning squads at Brighton in 2016-17 and while on loan at Fulham last season.

But he has slipped down the pecking order at the Premier League club, who are willing to sell him for a fee that Football Insider has been told is £1.5million.

The player is also believed to be keen to make a move to Leeds, a team where he can be expected to be a key member of the side, and they are now in pole position to sign him.

In other Leeds United news, a deal has been done for an international colossus and he will make his debut in Sunday’s clash against Stoke City.