Leeds United CEO Angus Kinnear on the challenge facing Whites in January transfer window

Marcelo Bielsa's 'exacting standards' present a January transfer window challenge for Leeds United that should not be downplayed, says CEO Angus Kinnear.

By Graham Smyth
Sunday, 2nd January 2022, 12:33 pm

Kinnear acknowledges that supporters will be hoping for reinforcements this month, with Leeds sitting 16th in the Premier League ahead of today's Elland Road clash with 18th-placed Burnley.

It hasn't yet been the second season in the top flight that anyone at Elland Road was hoping for, with an horrendous injury crisis biting Bielsa's squad again and again to add to the natural difficulty of the Premier League.

"At the halfway point in the season there is no hiding from the fact we are falling short of the standards we set ourselves and delivered against last season," said the CEO.

Sign up to our Leeds United newsletter

"However there is no lack of confidence that we have the capability to recapture both our intoxicating style and ability to secure results, irrespective of the strength of the opposition. Marcelo Bielsa is too professional to blame our form on our catalogue of injuries, but I don't believe any squad in the division could manage the unprecedented number of first-team absentees that has been inflicted upon us."

Bielsa is not expecting midfield star Kalvin Phillips or captain Liam Cooper back until March but hopes some of his other injury victims will return sooner. Regardless, there is hope within the fanbase that the January transfer window will allow Leeds to strengthen Bielsa's options. Many are of the belief that another central midfielder is the bare minimum requirement, although Bielsa has repeatedly stated that only players who are better than the ones at the club can be considered.

Therein lies the challenge for director of football Victor Orta and Kinnear.

"Naturally supporters will be looking to the January transfer window for reasons to be optimistic," he said.

JANUARY CHALLENGE - If Leeds United's decision makers are to bring in players to bolster Marcelo Bielsa's squad in January they must meet the head coach's 'exacting standards' Pic: Getty

"Under the custodianship of Andrea Radrizzani and the 49ers, we have never failed to demonstrate our commitment to strengthen the squad in every window. However, we should not underestimate the challenge of securing targets who can meet Marcelo's exacting standards and have the immediate impact that is required this season."