Leeds United CEO Angus Kinnear reveals bids for 'marquee talent' and issues Kalvin Phillips reassurance in wake of Jack Grealish Manchester City move
Leeds United have received offers for some of their 'marquee talent' this summer according to CEO Angus Kinnear but entertained none of them.
The chief executive, speaking on The Square Ball podcast, did not reveal which of Marcelo Bielsa's star players had attracted interest from elsewhere but hinted that it was those at the heart of the side who finished in the Premier League top 10 last season.
Responding to a question about Jack Grealish' s departure from Aston Villa to join Manchester City, Kinnear said that particular scenario was a warning for clubs like Leeds to heed right now, not just in the future but despite receiving offers in the 'tens of millions' the Whites' position on their key men is clear.
"This summer we've received a number of firm expressions of interest and some offers for players that would be perceived as our marquee talent and interest in the players at the level below that," he said.
"Even the level below that is in the tens of millions. None of them have been entertained, no discussions or negotiations have taken place. The first objective for this season in the transfer window was holding the team together. I know clubs never get any credit for that, but Illan [Meslier], Kalvin [Phillips], Patrick [Bamford], those players, Stuart Dallas, those right at the core of what we've done, they're not for sale. We've made it clear to the market they're not for sale. I think that will be the core of our success next season that we've resisted any of those types of offers."
Grealish's £100m British record move to the Etihad ended his 19-year stay with boyhood club Villa and while Kinnear admits the lure of success at Manchester City was too strong, he's confident Leeds can keep their stars, including homegrown talent Phillips, at the club. A Euro 2020 finalist with England, Phillips' stock has continued to rise but he has three years left on his current deal.
"The reality is that ultimately, and this has been proven by Aston VIlla, a hugely ambitious club, really well run, really well backed, but the lure of Champions League and playing for a team that's going to win trophies turned the player's head," said Kinnear.
"I know from Christian [Purslow], Aston Villa's CEO, that they didn't have to sell him, even at that value, and they wanted to keep him but when the player wants to go you have a problem.
"Our job, which I think Marcelo, Victor and Andrea are fantastic at, is making sure all the players feel wanted and valued and they can grow at Leeds United.
"Kalvin is a long-term pillar for the club. We'll work with him and his representatives to make sure he feels valued and motivated and wants to be at Leeds United. At the moment he's got three years on his contract, it's a healthy contract and we don't need to rush into any of these things. But we defend interest in our players very vigorously in the market place."