David Prutton: Leeds United's summer starting to take shape for Marcelo Bielsa

Jack Clarke is heading for Tottenham Hotspur from Leeds United for an initial fee of £10m – it is a tremendous opportunity for a young man who has started a handful of games.

Sunday, 30th June 2019, 5:20 pm
Updated Sunday, 30th June 2019, 6:20 pm
Leeds United winger Jack Clarke set to join Tottenham.

He is going to a team in Spurs that enjoys young British talent and puts a lot of faith in them.

As much as you get the feeling that Spurs will probably be splashing a bit more cash this year, the fact that they don’t make wholesale changes and just ship in foreign imports means that kids like Clarke will hopefully get a chance.

Whether he returns to Leeds on a temporary basis or not, from that point of view, he is correct in what he is doing in aiming for that type of club.

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You would have to say a big well done to him so far and it all now starts for him in making sure he makes the most of a life-changing opportunity.

From Leeds’ point of view, in terms of whether £10m was about right, you could pluck any figure out of the air.

I was reading on Thursday morning about Kalvin Phillips and the reported interest from Aston Villa and preparing bids for £14m and then suddenly there is talk of £30m being thrown his way– you have to sometimes wonder what is going on.

It can be all arbitrary, obviously James Maddison who came from the Championship at Norwich City has had a good season in the Premier League with Leicester City but he had a lot more experience with the Canaries before that move.

But £60m has now been slapped on him and it gets to the stage where the amount almost becomes irrelevant.

You can say a player is worth this much or that much but a player is only worth what a team is prepared to pay – that has always been the case.

If Leeds are going to use the Clarke money to bring someone in then what’s the going rate for a creative player?

It’s probably going to be more than £10m, so it will be intriguing to see how that money is used by Leeds, particularly as they have got to have half an eye on the Financial Fair Play side of it as well.

But for a player that has played just a few game games, £10m is a hell of a lot of money.

As ever, with the transfer fees, it is what you do with it that counts.

That is where Victor Orta, Andrea Radrizzani and Marcelo Bielsa must come together to make sure that this money is used in the best possible way.

There is talk of four players coming in on loan and part of the money being used for that then that is absolutely the right thing to do.

The fact that there were still no new players in by the end of last week is not so much of a concern considering what Marcelo Bielsa managed to get from the team he inherited last season.

But Bielsa will want to make sure Leeds go at least one place better than last year and so anyone who comes in needs to be here sooner rather than later as I am sure that the bedding in period and the work that Bielsa puts into the players is time-consuming and extremely intense.

Not only is it a case of Bielsa getting these points across, it is a case of how quickly these players can pick up the information because footballers learn and pick up information in different ways.

Bielsa needs to get people in that know where he wants to go and how he wants to go about it, so the sooner any new faces can be brought in, the better.

If new players are pitching up two weeks before the start of the season then that would be a bit more of a concern.

But, right now, one week into pre-season, the wheels are in motion for what they want to do in terms of bringing in new faces then that is fine going forward. And it appears that way with Jack Harrison and Ben White particularly.

United’s players have come back in two groups and Bailey Peacock-Farrell has revealed how he turned down the chance of an extra week off following international duty with Northern Ireland to return with his Leeds team-mates.

This is a great attitude to have as he is doing so in order to give himself the best possible chance of taking the No 1 goalkeeping jersey from Kiko Casilla.

It has to be applauded and it dovetails in with what he was saying when he was away on international duty in that he needed to be playing next season and he obviously needs to be working hard to try and get back into the side.

You could say, considering his profession, ‘big deal’. But he is back in training and working hard.

It’s well-known what he went through last season with regards to publicly being called out. But we can see how he dealt with that and how he has gone on to play for his country and hold himself up in a positive way.

He has behaved in a very mature way and all credit to him for coming back and getting the bit between his teeth. How often do we see players in that position spit the dummy out and instantly say they want a transfer?

But he has said ‘No, I want to get back in the first team’ and that shows the right type of attitude – coming back early, getting in good nick and good shape and taking the bit between his teeth and trying his damndest. People at the club will only be impressed.

Kiko Casilla made mistakes at crucial times last season and you would have thought – with his Champions League pedigree – he was brought in to handle exactly those kind of situations.

You would think that is when you rely on that experience but it backfired as it helped to bring Leeds’ season to a grinding halt.

You can’t deny the fact that he came in and initially made a difference but, as is the case with any manager, any player, any team, you are only as good as your last game and, as a result of that play-off semi-final exit where Casilla’s error unfortunately proved so costly, Leeds now have a couple of months to stew on it.

It is easy to blame it on one person because that’s what people like doing. But it was Leeds collectively falling short that was to blame, not one individual.

Admittedly, it certainly didn’t help but I think he has got enough in his locker and enough experience behind him to earn a second chance.