Leeds United: Whites looking to add players not sell them

Chris Wood
Chris Wood
0
Have your say

Garry Monk said he would limit himself to “one or two” new signings this month and ruled out any departures from Elland Road after Leeds United took another step towards the Championship’s play-offs.

Garry Monk said he would limit himself to “one or two” new signings this month and ruled out any departures from Elland Road after Leeds United took another step towards the Championship’s play-offs.

The club’s head coach categorically dismissed the threat of rival teams moving for members of his squad, saying Leeds and owner Massimo Cellino would turn down all offers and insisting United’s business would “only be incomings”.

Leeds are entering the January transfer window on an impressive streak of form which continued with a 3-0 win over bottom-of-the-table Rotherham United yesterday.

Two goals from Chris Wood took the striker’s tally for the season to 16, the fifth highest tally in the league, and sealed a victory which opened up a five-point gap over Derby County, the team in seventh and directly below the Championship play-off zone. Monk played down suggestions that Wood’s prolific form might attract bids for him in the weeks ahead and said Leeds’ resistance to selling players would also apply to Charlie Taylor, the club’s young left-back.

Taylor, who missed yesterday’s match with an Achilles injury, is wanted by West Bromwich Albion and has also caught the attention of Crystal Palace.

His contract expires at the end of this season but Cellino refused to accept a transfer request submitted by him before the campaign began and Leeds look set to retain him until the summer. United would be entitled to compensation when the defender’s contract runs out with Taylor yet to reach his 24th birthday.

Monk said: “They’ll all be kept. This is Leeds United, it’s a big club. We don’t have to sell anyone and we won’t be selling anyone.

“There was a promise made at the start of the season that we’re here to keep players and build something. It’ll only be incomings. There’ll be no-one leaving in this window. We’re not considering anything. It’s for players to come here.”

Asked if that stance applied to Taylor, Monk said: “It goes for every single player who’s in the squad at Leeds United right now.

“Charlie’s been fantastic. Those things are out of a player’s hands. His job is to focus on football and he’s done that very well. The club went as far as making a statement (in the summer) and we had a promise between myself and the owner. We spoke very honestly that players weren’t to leave. Charlie’s an important player for us and I don’t envisage any changes. We’re here to add one or two.”

Monk is targeting a new striker in the window and Leeds remain interested in West Ham United’s Ashley Fletcher, a player they tried and failed to sign in June, but Monk said he would not make “drastic” changes to a squad who are firmly in the race for promotion to the Premier League.

“The club know the areas I think we need to strengthen and what we’re looking for,” he said. “It’s not drastic. The group I’m working with are fantastic but we do need to add one or two to give us strength and competition.

“It’s not a window to do a lot of business in. It’s not a very good window I don’t think. It only needs to be one or two to give the group the help they need.”

Pablo Hernandez reached the end of his loan from Qatari side Al-Arabi yesterday but Leeds are working to finalise a deal to sign him permanently. An option to take Pontus Jansson from Torino full-time, meanwhile, was made available by the Sweden international making his 20th appearance against Rotherham. Torino have set Jansson’s fee at around £3.5m.

Monk said: “The club will do everything with these players, at the right time and when it seems fit. I’m sure everything will be taken care of.”

United’s head coach was honest in his assessment of a win over Rotherham in which Leeds recovered from a poor first half to take control in the second.

Rotherham saw the better chance before half-time and struck a post early on but a tactical change by Monk at the break was followed by a Kyle Bartley header which opened the scoring on 47 minutes.

“The first half was as poor as I’ve seen us in many months,” Monk said. “You’d expect an away team to slow it down but we were playing into their hands. There was no urgency to our play.

“We were very lucky to come through unscathed and there were a few choice words. We made a change and there was more spark to us. The second half was much more like us.

“No disrespect to Rotherham but when you play teams of higher quality you’re not going to be afforded periods of games like that, especially as you come to the latter stages of the season. It’s something we have to improve on but overall we’ve been working in a great way.”

Kalvin Phillips

Video: Leeds United’s Phillips accepts he can no longer have his cake and eat it