Leeds United: Orta rejects Deportivo in favour of Elland Road stay

Victor Orta is set to remain in his job at Leeds United after rejecting an approach from Deportivo La Coruna to become their new sporting director.

By The Newsroom
Saturday, 21st April 2018, 9:20 pm
Updated Saturday, 21st April 2018, 9:26 pm
Leeds United director of football Victor Orta (right).
Leeds United director of football Victor Orta (right).

United’s much-criticised director of football has indicated to the Elland Road hierarchy that he wants to continue in his post and assist with their recruitment in this summer’s transfer window despite suggestions that he was poised to return to Spain.

Deportivo are in the market for a new sporting director after the previous incumbent, Richard Barral, left the club in January. Orta was shortlisted but is understood to have turned Deportivo down following formal contact last week.

The YEP has been told that the position at Estadio Riazor will go to Carmelo del Pozo, a Spaniard who has worked for in the past for Real Betis, Espanyol and Alicante.

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Leeds United director of football Victor Orta (right).

Orta is well known to Deportivo’s board and highly-rated there but the club are third from bottom in La Liga. Barrall parted company with them after three years in his role, taking responsibility for their poor results.

Orta has been working as Leeds’ director of football and de facto chief scout for the past 12 months, one of the earliest appointments made by owner Andrea Radrizzani after his full takeover of United last May.

Radrizzani gave the Spaniard over-arching control of Leeds’ recruitment despite criticism of Orta’s performance in a prior role as Middlesbrough’s head of recruitment.

United, however, have regressed from a seventh-placed finish last season and their failure to maintain contract with the play-off positions since the turn of the year brought criticism to bear on Orta over a transfer window last summer in which Leeds made 14 first-team signings under his instruction.

Leeds United director of football Victor Orta (right).

Leeds are 12th in the Championship after Saturday’s win over Barnsley, 12 points shy of the last play-off place, and chants of “get out of our club” were aimed at Orta from the South Stand during that game.

Radrizzani, though, flew into Leeds this week after time abroad and the Italian looks ready to keep faith Orta for a second season following Orta’s decision to reject Deportivo’s offer.

United plan to revise their strategy this summer with more domestic signings and a series of departures which cut their senior squad closer to the 20 mark. They will supplement that squad with Under-23 players and could use the reduction in numbers to increase the current weekly wage limit of £15,000 a week.

Interest has already been shown in Barnsley players Andy Yiadom and Oli McBurnie, both of whom worked under Leeds head coach Paul Heckingbottom at Oakwell. A separate deal, meanwhile, is provisionally lined up for Carpi’s Nigerian striker Jerry Mbakogu, a forward who Carpi value at around £4m.

Leeds discussed a transfer with Carpi in January with a view to completing the transfer at the end of this season, once Mbakogu had secured an Italian passport and qualified for a work permit in England.

The 25-year-old, however, has been suffering from injury and last played for Carpi more than a month ago. He has scored six times in 21 appearances since August.

Despite criticism of Orta, the raft of junior signings negotiated by him in his first transfer window has had a more positive effect on Leeds’ academy. United’s Under-18s won their Professional Development League on Saturday afternoon with Bulgarian Kun Temenuzhkov scoring the decisive goal in a 1-0 win over Bolton Wanderers.