BAMBA IN TUNE WITH THE FANS
On-song Sol is loving it at Leeds
SOL Bamba has played a major part in Leeds’ recovery since the turn of the year – and would love to stay long-term to reward the club’s ‘unbelievable’ fans.
The 30-year-old centre-back joined Leeds on loan in the winter transfer window from Palermo – just months after agreeing a threeyear deal with the Serie A club.
Bamba’s career with the Rosanero has never got out of the blocks, having played just one league game, yet by stark contrast he has been a sensation in west Yorkshire.
While fab four Alex Mowatt pictured below, Lewis Cook, Sam Byram and Charlie Taylor have taken most of the recent plaudits, Bamba has gone about his business with classy composure.
And rather than focus on making a success of his time in Italy, Bamba has revealed he has his heart set on swapping the Palermo pink for the United white permanently.
“I really hope I’m going to stay,” said the Ivory Coast international. “I enjoy it here, the lads, the city and everything has been good. Hopefully we’ll sort something for me to stay.
“I’m contracted to Palermo for another two years, but I’ve been speaking to people at the club and I don’t think they will make it difficult for me to leave.”
If Leeds want someone to teach their youngsters the game, then Bamba is the ideal man.
The French-born defender has played for Paris Saint-Germain, Dunfermline, Hibs, Leicester and Trabzonspor in a much-travelled career.
“I like that there are a lot of good young players here and I think that I can help them with my experience,” he said. “I’m 30 now and at this stage of my career I want to settle.
“This is a massive club, so if I can stay here for another two or three years it would be great.
“The support we have is unbelievable. I’ve never known that before. The crowd is the reason we have to get results.”
There is an unfamiliar air of calm about Elland Road at the moment. That may well coincide with the fact controversial chief Massimo Cellino is temporarily out of the picture.
Years of financial insecurity, multiple changes of ownership – not to mention managers – plus play-off final defeats and relegation seem to be a thing of the past.
And while the going is good, Bamba wants his team to end the season at a canter to ensure they hit the ground running next term, whether he is there or not.
“At the moment the mood is good,” he added. “When you have a result on your side it is always good. We want to finish strongly so we can be ready for next season.
“There is a great togetherness here with all the lads.We hate to get beaten and we want to keep going like that until the end of the season.
“We’ve got a job to do. It’s about winning games and being ready for next season.
“It doesn’t matter what happens and who stays or goes, it is important to finish strong and be in a good mindset for the start of next season.
“It’s good to have the summer with your family and have a rest, and then when you come back you are ready to go.”
GETTING STUCK IN: Sol Bamba slides in to tackle Millwall’s Diego Fabbrini