London calling: Fulham, Palace, QPR chase Leeds skipper McCormack
London teams Crystal Palace (5/2 to be relegated from the Premier League with Coral), Fulham (odds-on favourites at 1/5) and 5/2 Championship promotion hopefuls QPR are all interested in signing second-tier top-scorer Ross McCormack from cash-strapped Leeds United.
The Whites have had to defer paying their players’ wages for March and, unless new investment is brought in soon, the threat of administration could loom large over Elland Road.
Scotland striker McCormack (capped 10 times, scoring twice) has hit 27 Championship goals this term – his latest proving to be a consolation as Leeds lost 2-1 at Yorkshire rivals Doncaster Rovers.
He is the heavily odds-on 1/16 favourite to win the division’s Golden Boot.
A couple of Premier League suitors, namely West Ham and Cardiff City (20/1 and 1/4 to be relegated respectively), tried to sign McCormack in January, but rumoured bids of £5m were rejected.
With a summer fire-sale now anticipated to keep the club afloat, Leeds could lose several key players in the transfer window.
Attacking right back Sam Byram was recently linked with a move to Southampton, if top teams come in from another talented youngster Calum Chambers.
McCormack may no longer command the substantial fee in January, as the Whites may be obliged to sell him. Rumoured interested parties Palace, the Hoops and Fulham have all had their own problems up front this term.
Tony Pulis’ Eagles are the lowest scorers in the Premier League, getting just 20 goals in 31 matches. Three different managers at Craven Cottage, meanwhile, have seem Fulham find the net on 30 occasions in the top-flight.
Harry Redknapp has been heavily reliant on QPR top-scorer Charlie Austin at Loftus Road to fire him to promotion, but since he picked up a shoulder injury their form has dipped.
A play-off place now looks the best Hoops fans can hope for, as their team has fallen nine points behind Burnley – in the last automatic promotion place – with seven games remaining.
Wherever he is playing his club football next season, McCormack and Blackburn Rovers striker Jordan Rhodes, another proven Championship marksman, will be key to Scotland hopes as Gordon Strachan looks to lead the Tartan Army to Euro 2016.
Drawn in Qualifying Group D with Germany, Georgia, Poland, the Republic of Ireland and UEFA new boys Gibraltar, Scotland are a 5/2 chance to qualify for the finals in France.