David Prutton: Leeds United are running out of time to get deals done

Marcelo Bielsa.Marcelo Bielsa.
Marcelo Bielsa.
THERE are less than three weeks until the summer transfer window closes on August 9 and Leeds United have still made just the two signings.

The club have had their targets but it’s never nailed on. Someone doesn’t say on a Monday ‘I want to go and play for someone’ and then by Tuesday morning it’s done. Very rarely does that happen.

Something only happens when all parties are happy, and all chairman think they are going to get the best deal out of it. Three weeks is quite a short space of time to get these new players in and I’m not saying Leeds need to get bundles of new players in because head coach Marcelo Bielsa wants to work with a specifically sized squad with specific quality.

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But this is when someone like director of football Victor Orta really needs to step up.

Victor Orta.Victor Orta.
Victor Orta.

From a recruitment point of view, this is his time to be under the spotlight and work his magic to get in the players that Bielsa needs.

You can look across the board at managers that have come in and fallen on the chopping board and obviously if the players are not performing then they are despatched too. But if this is how the recruitment structure works at Leeds then you apportion responsibility across the board.

Managers are always judged by their results and the team’s league position – that will never change. But we look at the players for 46 league games week in week out and this window is absolutely when the focus and attention should be looking at who comes through the doors, who Leeds are focusing their attentions on and who is finding these players.

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It’s about finding players who know what the Leeds badge is all about and after that it’s down to paying them and motivating them accordingly.

Derby County manager Frank Lampard.Derby County manager Frank Lampard.
Derby County manager Frank Lampard.

Leeds are known to be in the market for a centre-forward, a midfielder, a full-back and a winger. You are talking about pretty much a whole new spine to the team. The fact they are still needing to sign these players with less than three weeks to do it is ridiculous because the top targets would have been snapped up or at the very least they would now have a good idea of who they are going to play for.

You are also then in a situation with Matej Vydra where you can’t offer him what you want because he is asking for too much but he’s well within his rights to ask for too much because of his stature in the Championship.

You either bite the bullet and go ‘okay, let’s risk it and see what happens’ or you play a bit of a cagey game. But trying to get these players in less than three weeks now is a very small time frame.

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Pre-season friendlies have also started and you want to be getting players in early so you can get them settled and playing and bedded into the system.

But we should exercise a bit of caution here because if Leeds do get the players in then maybe they will learn on the job with his coaching and training methods, though the best players also know what their jobs are very, very quickly.

If Leeds can get players in of that standard then the argument of hours spent on the training pitch can go out of the window because they can hit the ground running. Leeds wanted to sign Dutch winger Florian Jozefzoon from Brentford but Jozefzoon chose to sign for Derby County instead. I presume that there was the draw of Frank Lampard being manager of Derby though it probably also came down to the wages that they put on the table.

He’s a good signing for Derby and is it a case of Leeds not being able to sell Leeds because I can’t possibly fathom how that would be the case.

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So it must be wages or the way the contract is structured together as well as the presence of Lampard which is a huge draw definitely. For as much as we have seen and heard about Bielsa about how he has been able to influence coaches and all the rest, what you have got to look at with these players who are in their 20s or younger is that maybe someone like Lampard is more immediate. They get to chat to a manager and a player that has just stepped off the pitch and just stepped away from winning multiple titles and performing for his club and country. He is only taking baby steps in his managerial career but he made huge strides in his playing career and he maybe produces a more immediate reaction.

It’s difficult putting out a 36-year-old’s opinion on what someone in their 20s would do but I would sit down in front of someone like Lampard and think ‘Christ, I am going to go and play for him.’ For younger people and younger players today, he is maybe the more relevant one.