Ex-Leeds United man on Jesse Marsch free ticket, Brenden Aaronson's 'massive' claim and summer job

Thank goodness Victor Orta is working on Leeds United’s Plan A and Plan B has been scrubbed completely.
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That the club is now concentrating on those original targets they had for the summer transfer window means we’re still in the Premier League and clearly that was so important.

I think the signing of Brenden Aaronson, coming as quickly as it did after the season had finished, said a number of things. Firstly, a deal had obviously been worked on to the point of completion after we missed out on him in January, and secondly the club were keen to get off to a fast start, pump out some good news and generate some momentum following the feel-good factor of securing top-flight status.

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It was a difficult campaign and everyone will be keen to move on and focus on what’s next.

When you look back to the January window, we were screaming out for someone extra, someone different in midfield and Aaronson is one of those players, with his best football still ahead of him.

He looks ideal for one of those positions in midfield, in a Jesse Marsch formation, although, like every new signing, he will have to adapt to life in the Premier League.

Twenty or 30 years ago, it was more difficult than it is now because, these days, there are so many foreign players and managers. Of course, it is different, the division, it’s high-octane stuff from almost every team but I do think it’s easier to transition and for Aaronson, especially, when you have a manager who knows you inside out then it’s much easier again. I think he’s got a chance of hitting the ground running.

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Getting the exact players to fit Jesse Marsch’s style and system is undoubtedly vital this summer. Marsch needs the opportunity to build a team in his likeness because, while it sometimes worked well after he came in, there were a lot of times when it was hard to see how it was supposed to work going forward.

FIRST IN - Brenden Aaronson is the first 'Jesse Marsch signing' of the summer for Leeds United and Tony Dorigo wants to see a lot more recruitment.FIRST IN - Brenden Aaronson is the first 'Jesse Marsch signing' of the summer for Leeds United and Tony Dorigo wants to see a lot more recruitment.
FIRST IN - Brenden Aaronson is the first 'Jesse Marsch signing' of the summer for Leeds United and Tony Dorigo wants to see a lot more recruitment.

If we can get a few players who slot perfectly into his system and can play his style, hopefully we’ll see his plan being carried out more clearly.

I’m giving him a free ticket. When he came in, it was all about keeping us in the Premier League, stopping us from shipping as many goals and, okay, it was a lot closer than I thought it would be, but he kept us up.

Think about the difficulties he had - replacing Marcelo Bielsa was one in itself. I refer back to Sir Alex Ferguson at Manchester United and how anyone replacing him didn’t have a hope in hell of doing anything. What Marcelo did at Leeds United makes it extremely difficult for Marsch, because his predecessor was so loved by everyone.

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Then look at the injuries he had to contend with, the players in the squad he didn’t have at his disposal and you have to say he was up against it right from the very start.

But I think, come pre-season, we will start to see what Marsch is all about. I’m not sure we’ve quite seen that. Clearly the boys have a good feeling with him after staying up, their manager speaks a lot about passion and positivity and I think the camp, as a whole, is a positive one. However, what I’m still not 100 per cent sure of is what Marsch’s style of football is. Once he gets some players in, we can start to find out.

Aaronson, the first of those, said what every new signing says - it’s an easy decision, Leeds is a massive club. It’s an interesting one. How are we gauging that? If you look at squad size or infrastructure, we’re nowhere near a massive club, we’re probably not even a medium club - that’s the hard facts of the Premier League.

But, if you’re talking about fans and potential, then we absolutely have the ability to be a massive club. I can’t stress enough that being outside of the top league for 16 years has put us so far behind in lots of ways. And, of course, the main thing is to make sure out on the pitch that we stay that Premier League club, it’s off the pitch and everything else around it that we need to build up.

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The ownership will want to be bigger and better, we’re on that journey, but it’s always a knife’s edge - how much you invest in things like the stadium versus making sure we have a team out there worthy of Premier League status. We saw how close we came to losing it last season.

There’s no doubt we could be a massive club in every sense but it’s going to take a good few years. You hear the hierarchy talk about European football and those are lofty ambitions, things I’d love to see and believe, but I think it’s going to be difficult. It’s going to take a lot of time and money.

This summer, it will take the addition of enough players to give us real squad strength. We surely need an experienced goalkeeper because, while Kristoffer Klaesson pulled off a few decent saves at Wolves, if Illan Meslier was out for a number of games it raises an issue we could address in this window.

We’re obviously keen on another RB Salzburg player for our right-back vacancy and, with Stuart Dallas and Luke Ayling out, we have issues in that position. I suppose the biggest problem is that we haven’t signed anyone in midfield for a long time and I’d be surprised if Aaronson is the last one to arrive in that area. Then, up top, we need someone to help share the workload with Patrick Bamford, that much is vital as well.

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That’s bare minimum and none of it touches the need we’ll have if anyone goes, there will have to be replacements as well. It’s quite the shopping list as it is.

Everyone would love Kalvin Phillips and Raphinha to stay, of course, but if teams like Manchester City or Barcelona come in then it becomes very difficult for everyone.

Phillips has always been very loyal, he could have gone and earned a lot more money elsewhere. If the big-money bid comes in, I’m sure the club will do it on their terms. As for Raphinha, Barcelona clearly want him but he can only go if the price is right.

Just because he wants to go to Barcelona and they want him does not mean it’s a done deal. The club needs to make sure they get exactly what they require when they require it.

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If either man departs then the money has to be reinvested, with some more on top. Looking at the Premier League, so many are throwing £150m at it, or more, and if you spend half of that then you’re getting farther away.

You can maybe pick up a Raphinha, like we did, for £17m and we definitely need to be doing that kind of business again. There are so many billionaires investing huge amounts and we have to do enough to ensure we’re not finishing 17th again. It’s a big summer.