Leeds United: Pearson says focus now on experienced recruits

LEEDS UNITED may still have several pieces of transfer business to conclude this summer, but most observers would venture that they have already made one of their key signings of the close-season already in Adam Pearson.
Uwe RoslerUwe Rosler
Uwe Rosler

The 50-year-old made a surprise move back to United – where he served as a commercial director before leaving in 2001 – six weeks ago on May 11 and he has already been working feverishly behind the scenes, helping to instigate a number of key appointments.

Stuart Hayton has come in as the new club secretary at Elland Road, while Martyn Glover has arrived at the club as the head of recruitment.

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Rob Kelly has been brought in as deputy to new head coach Uwe Rosler, who was named just nine days after Pearson’s arrival at the club, with Richard Hartis also coming in as the club’s new goalkeeping coach.

Some further coaching appointments are likely with Pearson also working hard behind the scenes to try and establish several key commercial deals for the club.

Just a month-and-a-half in, executive director Pearson has already done plenty, while also quickly establishing a working relationship with owner Massimo Cellino.

But he is under no illusions that much more work is needed likely between now and the start of the season.

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After the announcement of a significant five-year kit deal with Italian sportswear firm Kappa, Pearson is hoping to establish links with a number of other key business partners, while also finalise the club’s backroom team after a number of appointments in his time at the club so far.

He said: “(Commercially) It is coming back from a memory point of view to how big the club was.

“I think when I left, it was the eighth biggest club in Europe financially and turning over about eighty million (pounds) and making ten million pounds net profit. It would be great if we could get back to that.

“There is a real desire from the chairman and owner to have a different season to last season. It’s challenging, but, hopefully, we will get there.

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“It is interesting. I am learning a lot from a different approach to it and you have to take things on board.

“I saw that first hand at Sheffield Wednesday as well when a different nationality comes into a club, it changes the entire culture. Some people adapt, some don’t. Both parties need to meet in the middle.”

Leeds are also working hard to add to their playing squad, with Pearson acknowledging that the club need ‘three or four proven players’ to give the club the best chance of competing in what will again be an extremely competitive Championship in 2015-16.

Former England midfielder Joey Barton was again linked with a possible move to Leeds in the national press at the weekend – although the financial package involved in luring the 32-year-old to Elland Road is likely to scupper any serious hopes of a move.

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Barton was released by relegated QPR in May, with the Scouser coming to the end of a lucrative contract at Loftus Road, where his weekly wages were in the region of £65,000-68,000 per week.

Another reported midfield free agent target, former Derby player John Eustace, 35, is due to hold talks with Glasgow Rangers today, with the Gers set to offer him the Ibrox captaincy in a bid to lure him north.

Leeds have so far signed two players with potential in Motherwell striker Lee Erwin and back-up keeper Charlie Horton, with bringing in some experienced recruits now being the next recruitment focus.

Pearson said: “It’s a good solid start and we need three or four more proven players to come in and then I think we have got a chance of competing.

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“The backroom team that is in place should give fans some real confidence.

“The team looks really strong and knows want they want and are pretty determined to do it in the right way.

“I think Uwe and Martyn are working really well together on the recruitment and Rob Kelly and Richard Hartis are working well at Thorp Arch to try and make some changes for when the team get back, so they can visibly see a new culture and start.”