Leeds United confirm £3.8m academy sale as Daniel Farke sanctions exit ahead of squad rebuild

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Leeds United have confirmed the sale of academy graduate defender Charlie Cresswell to French Ligue 1 side Toulouse FC.

The 21-year-old England youth international has swapped Elland Road for Stadium de Toulouse where he will continue his career in France’s top flight.

Leeds and Toulouse had previously arranged a £3.8 million transfer earlier in the window but personal terms could not be agreed between Cresswell and Les Violets. The impasse between club and player has now been resolved, though, with Cresswell departing Leeds after a season on the fringes at Elland Road.

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Having clinched the Under-21 European Championships title with England last summer, Cresswell earned a fresh contract at Leeds and was handed the No. 5 shirt. However, the young defender soon had to settle for a place among Daniel Farke’s supporting cast with Pascal Struijk, Joe Rodon, Liam Cooper and, during the second half of the campaign, Ethan Ampadu preferred at centre-half.

Consequently, Cresswell spent the majority of the 2023/24 campaign on the substitutes’ bench, or out of the matchday squad altogether. The youngster is understood to have queried his lack of involvement with Farke midway through the season, with the German expressing to Cresswell he did not feel he was sufficiently committed to the collective cause and would not return to the squad until he had demonstrated otherwise.

United have re-signed Rodon already this summer, this time in a permanent transfer for a fee widely understood to be £10 million. Cresswell’s sale for nearing on £4 million, meanwhile, represents ‘pure profit’ in an accounting sense as the 21-year-old is a product of the club’s Thorp Arch academy.

Cresswell’s sale leaves just three senior central defenders contracted to the club following the expiry of Cooper’s contract at the end of June. Struijk and Rodon are expected to reprise their partnership at the heart of Farke’s defence for the upcoming season, while Ampadu is anticipated to return to the base of midfield.

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Leeds are expected to announce the signing of back-up goalkeeper Alex Cairns from Salford City for a nominal fee, while the club are actively looking to make reinforcements to a number of key positions after offloading several fringe players during the early portion of this summer’s transfer window.

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