GARRY MONK has confirmed that talks over an extension of his contract were set to take place with Leeds United as he urged the club to “be smart” in their handling of the summer ahead.
United’s head coach and co-owner Andrea Radrizzani are poised to meet for discussions about Monk’s future at Elland Road and their strategy for next season after the club’s narrow failure to make the Championship play-offs.
Monk, whose 12-month deal expires after the final game of the season at Wigan on Sunday, has been in the dark about his job despite mounting an unexpected bid for promotion in his first year in charge of United.
Leeds are on the verge of major internal change with Radrizzani working to secure 100 per cent control of the club from fellow co-owner Massimo Cellino. Radrizzani is intent on finalising a full takeover in the next fortnight, four months after acquiring a 50 per cent stake.
Monk - appointed to his post by Cellino in June - was reported to be facing the sack last weekend after the play-offs slipped away from his squad but Radrizzani remains open to the option of extending Monk’s contract and pair have agreed to hold initial negotiations after the game against Wigan.
Monk said: “I’ve heard a lot of rumours this week but nothing’s been decided yet. I’m still to speak to the club but I’ve had contact from Mr Radrizzani. He wants to sit after the game and discuss all the issues. I’m looking forward to talking to him.
“There’s a lot of things to talk about and a lot of things that need putting in place. I know what my views are on what the squad needs. Until we sit and discuss that and the club’s views on how to do it, it (Radrizzani’s thinking) won’t be clear. I know from working with this squad every day. I’ve got a clear understanding.”
Leeds will finish seventh in the table regardless of the outcome at Wigan, a frustrating end to a promising year in which the club spent four months in a play-off position.
Monk, however, insisted Leeds had a chance to make a more serious challenge for promotion again in 12 months having recorded their highest league finish since 2011.
“What we’ve done this season is make big strides - small steps at the start but overall big steps,” Monk said. “Next season is one where if done right and planned right, the club can have the best chance of fighting for the play-offs places or even automatic (promotion). That objective can come forward if everything’s done right and put in place.
There’s a lot of things to talk about and a lot of things that need putting in place. I know what my views are on what the squad needs.Leeds United head coach, Garry Monk.
“I’ve thoroughly enjoyed it here, getting my teeth into the job and trying to make it work and I think we have. Now it’s a case of everyone being smart and understanding the best opportunity to build going forward. Next season’s a big season.
“You’ve seen how competitive the league is and it’s only going to get more competitive. The club have to be ready to do the right thing and make sure next season is one where we can fight.”
Monk has been linked with the vacant manager’s job at Norwich City amid doubt about his future at Leeds but said he had not received any offers or expressions of interest from rival clubs.
United have an option to extend Monk’s existing deal by 12 months - a clause negotiated when he first became head coach - but Radrizzani could move to make a more substantial offer on the strength of a productive first season.
Asked if remaining in his post at Leeds was his preference, Monk said: “Of course, if everything falls into line and all the issues are clarified.
“If it all fits in with how I feel the club needs to progress then of course that’s the best situation but until I have those talks and find out how it’s going to be done, it’s impossible to answer.
“It’s been proven this season what the club’s capable of. That’s something to make sure we hold on to. That’s probably the biggest part of it.”
On-loan United defender Kyle Bartley, who previously played under Monk at Swansea City, spoke out in support of the Leeds boss after Saturday’s 3-3 draw with Norwich, saying an extension of Monk’s contract should be a priority for the club.
Monk said: “My relationship with my players has been very strong all season. I’m very protective of them, supportive of them and at times very hard on them internally but I think they respect the work we’ve done.”