Deportivo end Victor Orta speculation with sporting director appointment

Victor Orta, right, with Leeds United owner Andrea Radrizzani
Victor Orta, right, with Leeds United owner Andrea Radrizzani
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Deportivo La Coruna have ended talk of Victor Orta quitting Leeds United for the Spanish club by naming Carmelo del Pozo as their new sporting director.

As revealed by the YEP last month, Orta turned down the chance to take charge of Deportivo’s recruitment department after telling Leeds he was committed to remaining in his role as director of football at Elland Road.

The Spaniard, whose impact at Leeds has been heavily criticised, was shortlisted by Deportivo for a post which stood vacant following Richard Barral’s exit from Estadio Riazor in January.

La Coruna - a side United played in the Champions League quarter-finals in 2001 - have fallen on hard times and were recently relegated from La Liga.

Orta’s refusal of the job has seen Deportivo turn instead to del Pozo, a fellow Spaniard who was working as sporting director at Levante. Del Pozo agreed a three-year deal last night.

Leeds wanted to retain Orta, the head of their scouting network, despite the disappointing impact of his first two transfer windows at Elland Road.

United owner Andrea Radrizzani appointed Orta last May on the back of his controversial spell as Middlesbrough’s head of recruitment and Orta oversaw a summer window in which the club’s first-team signings ran well into double figures.

A further £7m was spent in January on Adam Forshaw, Tyler Roberts, Laurens De Bock and Yosuke Ideguchi but United’s Championship season tailed off badly and the club finished 13th after their final game against Queens Park Rangers on Sunday.

Much of the initial recruitment under Orta took place abroad but Leeds are expected to change their approach before next season, with more focus on the domestic market.

The club are already working on a deal for Kyle Bartley, the Swansea City defender who spent the 2016-17 season on loan at Elland Road, and hold an interest in Swansea forward Oli McBurnie and Barnsley full-back Andy Yiadom.

Yiadom, who Leeds head coach Paul Heckingbottom took to Oakwell in 2016, is available on a free transfer while McBurnie - another player who worked under Heckingbottom while on loan at Barnsley - has one year left on his deal at Swansea.