Leeds United: Productive transfer window has prepared us well says Garry Monk

Garry Monk

Garry Monk

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Leeds United head coach Garry Monk insisted last night that a “productive” transfer window had set the club up nicely for the new Championship season and would allow his squad to compete in an increasingly cash-rich league.

Leeds United head coach Garry Monk insisted last night that a “productive” transfer window had set the club up nicely for the new Championship season and would allow his squad to compete in an increasingly cash-rich league.

Speaking on the eve of the Championship’s first match between Fulham and Newcastle United, Monk said he was happy with the business completed by Leeds so far after former Valencia and Swansea City winger Pablo Hernandez became his seventh summer signing on Tuesday.

United have worked to overhaul their squad in a transfer window which has seen more than £40m invested by Rafael Benitez’s Newcastle. Aston Villa and Norwich City added to the big spending yesterday but closing expensive deals for Ross McCormack and Alex Pritchard respectively.

Monk, who played in all four English leagues, said the Championship was rapidly heading to the point where individual clubs would part with more than £100m in a single window but he talked up his own resources at Elland Road as he continued the countdown to Leeds’ first game at Queens Park Rangers on Sunday.

United’s signings so far have included former England goalkeeper Rob Green, on-loan Swansea centre-back Kyle Bartley, £3m forward Kemar Roofe and Swedish striker Marcus Antonsson.

Monk said: “My only concern is what we can do and I think we’ve been very productive in this transfer window. I think we’ve done well. The signings we’ve made – you’ve seen them contribute in pre-season and it’s dded more quality to the squad we already had.

“There are certain ways you can go about business. You can be a club with a lot of money, you can be a club with no money. But whichever way, if you can be clever, identify the right players and attract them to your club then you can always have a successful window. I think we’ve been productive and the club deserve credit for that but we need to strengthen. We know that and the club know that.”

Leeds won’t offer a contract to trialist defender Gabriele Perico, who played against Atalanta, but they remain in the hunt for a full-back and are being strongly linked with Benfica left-back Alexis Scholl, a 22-year-old Belgian.

Monk said the arrival of players like Green and Hernandez had added necessary experience to a young crop at Leeds, saying: “That’s what the group was lacking. It’s a young and talented squad but with a lack of leadership or experience throughout the group.

“The young players will look at those guys (Green and Hernandez), see they’ve played at a higher level, see how they conduct themselves and how they approach games. That was one of the areas I identified as needed improving.”

Monk, however, refused to discuss his side’s chances of making the play-offs in a highly competitive division, saying: “We’ll see where we lie towards the end of the season, past the Christmas period. That’s when you know where you can be. Right now it’s nothing to do with the top six or promotion.

“I don’t think there’s an easy game in this league. You’ve got all the money coming into the game and you’ll see it in years to come. In the next two or three years, the teams that come down – they will, for sure, be spending £100m-plus on transfers. That’s what I think. But it’s not something I’m bothered about. I’m focused on what we can do at Leeds. I’ve got confidence in this group.”

Monk said he was seeking a fast start to life in the Championship.

“The club’s ambition has to be getting back to the Premier League,” he said. “The plan is to win games straight away. There’s no long-term plan anymore for managers.

“Every manager would love to come here and say ‘I’ve got a three-year plan’ but football doesn’t work like that. The real test will come from this Sunday onwards. We’re looking forward to it.”

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