49ers Enterprises are fulfilling Leeds United summer prediction as Paraag Marathe puts 'head start' into action

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Leeds United have been busy with outgoings and incomings so far this transfer window

Almost a month into the summer transfer window, it is all feeling a bit sensible at Leeds United. A bit too sensible for some. Two incomings, five sales, four loan exits and the release of those at the end of their contracts.

After a quiet first couple of weeks, activity has kicked up a notch at Leeds and business is ticking along nicely. The £40million sale of Archie Gray to Tottenham was a tough one to take for supporters - the necessary evil of another season outside the Premier League and the financial constraints that come with it - but decisions taken by those inside Elland Road have largely been well-received by supporters.

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The pain of Gray’s exit was somewhat placated by Joe Rodon coming the other way, Leeds were able to meet Tottenham’s £10m asking price thanks to their very recent cash injection. A familiar face at Thorp Arch eventually joined by another, with experienced goalkeeper Alex Cairns returning to the club with whom he made his senior debut back in 2011.

The signing of a 31-year-old League Two goalkeeper for a nominal fee was never going to set the world alight, but it does paint the picture of a club getting their house in order - and in good time. At this point last summer, Leeds were hostage to the chaos of loan exit clauses and unsure of what the next day might throw up, never mind what the squad would look like come the end of August.

Daniel Farke was coming towards the end of his first week in charge but had already lost Brenden Aaronson, Diego Llorente and Robin Koch to loans he had no power in stopping, with others to follow. It would be more than a week until Leeds could announce their first senior arrival, Ethan Ampadu joining from Chelsea in a deal worth £7m on July 19. They kicked off their season against Cardiff City less than three weeks later, still on the back foot and with the futures of Luis Sinisterra and Wilfried Gnonto up in the air.

Farke would eventually point to that tough opening period - three wins from their first nine league games - as a key factor behind their eventual failure to finish in the top two. And while the chance came and went again after going top in March, there is no doubt that a faster start would have put Leeds in a stronger position.

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“I feel really confident about the [upcoming] season, particularly because we have at least a four or five week head start on what we had last year,” Paraag Marathe told the YEP after May’s play-off final defeat to Southampton. “That's probably the most exciting thing about this season. We played the first month of the season with one hand tied behind our back, because of some of the player ins and outs, some players hadn't come in yet, some players we had some contractual issues with and so we really started our season with a hand tied behind our back.

“I'm really excited to see what we can do. I'm excited about the fact that we have a full off-season. Like I said, an extra five weeks to start planning our player and squad strategy. It just gives us a head start relative to ourselves and what we had before and it's why I have the same concurrent feelings of feeling hurt and sad but also excited about the future.”

Leeds have made good use of that head start, with decisive action taken on those returning from loan spells. The club are in a much better position regarding those loan clauses and only Jack Harrison has extended his temporary stay at Everton. Supporters may see the fees accepted for Llorente and Marc Roca as relatively low but high wages have been offloaded and the benefit of clarity can not be understated.

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Max Wober and Rasmus Kristensen will soon return to West Yorkshire, having been in Germany for Euro 2024, and talks over their own futures will begin in the hope of providing more clarity soon. Aaronson will join up with Farke’s squad and stay there for the foreseeable, having decided to fight for promotion. Fringe players such as Charlie Cresswell and Darko Gyabi have been moved on, either on loan or permanently.

All of that should put Leeds in a strong position to work on signings of their own between now and August 30, with a clear knowledge of what areas need to be strengthened and how much money there is to do it. It is a far cry from the uncertainty of 12 months ago and Farke will hope a strong start to the season can reflect that.

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