By Daniel Feliciano

28th Dec, 2022 | 1:10pm

Leeds United beginning plans to phase out Liam Cooper as Maximilian Wober deal edges closer

Leeds United have begun the process of phasing out long-time captain and stalwart Liam Cooper from the squad, if the latest transfer news is proven true.

The Whites have opened talks with Red Bull Salzburg over a £14m deal for their captain and defender Maximilian Wober, a deal exclusively broken by the ever-reliable transfer guru Fabrizio Romano on Tuesday afternoon (27 December).

It’s believed that Wober is being targeted as the club’s left-back signing for the second half of the season, but there is likely to be far more thought behind the deal than just that.

Wober is naturally a centre-back who is also capable of playing at left-back, and is currently the skipper at the Austrian club despite being only 24-years-old.

A natural leader, he would likely sign a long-term deal at Elland Road should they successfully negotiate terms with his club to bring him to Leeds.

He would join fellow defenders Diego Llorente and Pascal Struijk in doing so, with both recently penning new deals until 2026 and 2027 respectively with the Whites to secure their long-term futures at the club.

Watching on as those around him put pen to paper on fresh terms is current skipper Cooper, who has been with the club since 2014 and will see his contract expire at the club as it stands in 2024.

While he is still a starter for Marsch when everyone is fit for the most part, it’s impossible to ignore that he is now 31 and will be edging to 33 by the time his deal expires.

It’s always nice to have senior players who know the club hanging around, but only if they’re good enough and can still offer something to the team, otherwise they end up costing you points at vital moments of the season.

Bringing Wober into the club now solves the issue of a left-back issue for the rest of the campaign, but going forward it adds another option to the centre-back options along with Robin Koch and academy starlet Charlie Cresswell who is highly-rated too.

It’s already highly unlikely that there will be space for Cooper in two years’ time, if not sooner, and it seems as though the Whites are making their plans concrete before his inevitable departure.

The club is planning ahead and looking to the future, something they’ve often been criticised for not doing in the past.

Cooper will know it and fans will surely put two and two together too, so it could be time to start saying your goodbyes to the skipper.

In other Leeds news, two players “definitely out” against Man City according to Phil Hay