Leeds United manager Steve Evans has praised the "fantastic support" of controversial owner Massimo Cellino after the Championship club completed their latest January signing with the capture of Toumani Diagouraga. The highly-rated midfielder has signed a two-and-a-half year contract at Elland Road, joining from second-tier rivals Brentford for an undisclosed fee.
Diagouraga, who made almost 250 appearances during six years at Griffin Park, becomes the fifth player signed by the Whites this month, with Liam Bridcutt having extended his loan spell from Sunderland. Winger Mustapha Carayol also arrived from Middlesbrough on a similar deal until the end of the season, while young twins Jack and Paul McKay were both purchased from Doncaster Rovers in order to play for the U21s.
Former Brentford boss Mark Warburton had been eager to take the 28-year-old to Rangers, with the Scottish Championship leaders said to have failed with two separate bids before Leeds swooped in with a more attractive offer. Evans has since described his latest recruit as "outstanding", identifying both him and Bridcutt as the two players that he wanted to sign immediately upon succeeding Uwe Rosler in October and revealing that several other clubs were also interested.
Speaking to Leeds' website after the deal was finally formally announced, he said: "With the fantastic support of Mr Cellino, we have been able to secure the signature of this talented boy. He has a big physical presence, but what will not go unnoticed at Elland Road is his ability to pass the ball.
"It has made him a sought after commodity in the last few days. He has chosen Leeds United over several other clubs in the Championship and of course another huge club up in Scotland."
Although no price was officially disclosed by either club, the Yorkshire Evening Post believe the deal to take Diagouraga to west Yorkshire is worth approximately £575,000. Leeds recently banked £3.7m with the sale of academy graduate Sam Byram to West Ham.
In a rather cruel twist of fate, Diagouraga's debut for his new club is likely to come against Brentford on 26 January. The Bees currently sit four points and six places ahead of their opponents in 10th following a 3-1 win at Preston North End last time out.