Leeds United will formally trigger a 12-month extension of Garry Monk’s existing contract as head coach tomorrow with new owner Andrea Radrizzani looking for “time to know each other” before sanctioning a long-term deal.
Speaking to the YEP, Radrizzani said a lengthier agreement with Monk was on his agenda but admitted he was happy to retain Monk until the end of next season while they discuss plans for the year ahead.
The Italian businessman, who ended Massimo Cellino’s association with Leeds by completing a 100 per cent takeover of the club on Tuesday, has held two rounds of talks with Monk this week and confirmed his intention to extend the deal which Monk negotiated with United’s last June.
The former Swansea City manager took up an initial 12-month offer at Elland Road but agreed to a clause allowing Leeds to extend his stay to the end of the 2017-18 season.
United’s right to exercise that option expires next week, on May 31, and Radrizzani confirmed that the club would activate it tomorrow.
Monk, however, is seeking a longer contract from Radrizzani after narrowly missing out on the Championship play-offs in his first year as head coach.
He is understood to be disappointed with the prospect of a short-term extension but Radrizzani indicated that he would look at a more substantial contract for the 38-year-old and said he was still to be notified of Monk’s demands.
“I think in my opinion it’s fair to have time to know each other because I’m starting now,” Radrizzani said. “I never had a chance to know him.
“His first full season was last year and he was happy to give the club the option to continue. I don’t see any problem with us having this period and then, with more time and calm, discuss an extension. I don’t see a problem. If he has a different opinion then I’m also keen and flexible to listen.
“I’m open (to a longer deal) because it’s our priority but so far I didn’t receive clear feedback from them about an extension.”
Radrizzani is instigating major changes to senior personnel at Elland Road having added Ivan Bravo, formerly of Real Madrid, to the club’s board.
West Ham United managing director Angus Kinnear is set to arrive as a replacement for outgoing chief executive Ben Mansford and Victor Orta, Middlesbrough’s ex-head of recruitment, is in line to become technical director.
Radrizzani introduced Monk to Bravo this week and said discussions about signings for next season were already underway.
“I met him (Monk) a couple of times this week to introduce the new management that will work with me and also to discuss in full transparency what worked and what didn’t work well last season, and how we can improve together for the season,” Radrizzani said.
“We are monitoring many (players) and we are starting discussions but until we confirm everything with Garry we can’t sign players because we need him involved in the call.”
Asked if Monk was happy with the new structure of management, Radrizzani said: “You should ask him but I had only a couple of meetings with him. I don’t know if he has enough information or time to make a judgement on that.”
Leeds produced their most competitive season in six years under Monk, finishing seventh in the Championship but dropping out of the play-offs after a run of one win from their final eight games.
Average attendances at Elland Road rose to more than 27,000, including a first sell-out since 2011, but Radrizzani voiced disappointment at the club’s weak finish, saying he wanted to created a “winning mentality”.
He insisted promotion next season would be a possibility, saying: “Every year it’s possible. I watched all the games this year. You could see that we wasted some points and that we could be a little bit higher, closer to the top two.
“We need to believe and work hard. What I think is missing is a winning mentality - the confidence and the conviction that we can achieve. We need to try to achieve. There was a gap in the current squad and it’s not their fault. It was also about the age. It will come naturally, this conviction or self-confidence. You go there with experience.
“It will happen in the players and even the fans. At the end of the day, I’m not that happy when I see that they (the fans) are happy with the season. The season at the end was not good. We didn’t achieve. Something didn’t work so we can’t be happy, just because we were bad 10 years ago. As a supporter of the club now I’m not happy if we don’t achieve.
“This is a positive pressure that in the right quantity is good to have in your life every day. Without accomplishments and satisfaction we will never reach results.”