Important Leeds asset stuns Farke with agreement to join Saudi side in damaging transfer

Ciaran McCarthy
Liam Cooper, Luke Ayling, Leeds United, March 2023
Liam Cooper, Luke Ayling celebrate goal

Leeds United captain Liam Cooper has apparently made the shocking decision to ‘agree in principle’ to join Saudi Arabian second-tier side Al Qadsiah.

It’s not been the best few months for the Elland Road outfit. After narrowly avoiding Premier League relegation two seasons ago, they failed to complete that same feat last season, and will return to the Championship for the upcoming campaign.

A number of players have jumped ship since the Whites’ relegation was confirmed. Rodrigo, Tyler Roberts and Joel Robles have all left on permanent deals, while Brenden Aaronson, Rasmus Kristensen, Marc Roca, Robin Koch and Maximilian Wober have departed on loan.

Leeds might soon see captain Cooper leave the club, too. Indeed, a report from a journalist in the Middle East suggests he’s ‘agreed in principle’ to move on from Elland Road in favour of Saudi Arabian side Al Qadsiah.

The move is said to be a ‘strong deal to support the back lines’ at the club. That exit would be a damaging one for Leeds if it does come to fruition, not least because Cooper is the captain.

It would also be quite the shock from a Whites perspective, given the defender has given nine years of service to the club, and could end that by moving to Saudi Arabia.

While the path from Europe to the Middle East is one that’s been travelled often this summer, with the likes of N’Golo Kante, Karim Benzema and Ruben Neves all making that switch, Cooper would be heading to a second-tier side, rather than a Saudi Pro League outfit.

If he does leave, he’d be the latest in a line of Whites assets to do so, which would bring the quality of the side down further from the drop the club have already seen this summer.

There is some sense in the decision, if the Leeds captain is to head to Al Qadsiah. The club is managed by Robbie Fowler, and Cooper’s former Leeds teammate Joel moved there upon the completion of his deal at Elland Road this summer.

What’s more, Cooper would be switching one second division side for another. However, the level of football in England is sure to be better than in Saudi Arabia, and Leeds fans might not take too kindly to news that their skipper has upped sticks in order to step down a level.

In any case, it seems he wants to do so, and the club will have a decision to make over whether or not they allow him to make that move.

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