Leeds United: Garry Monk hints strongly at long-term contract talks

Garry Monk.
Garry Monk.
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Garry Monk gave a clear hint that he was willing to commit his long-term future to Leeds United with the club planning to open talks about an extension to his contract.

Monk said he was “building something and trying to put something in place” at Leeds and insisted any attempt to tie him to an improved deal would be “taken care of”.

New United co-owner Andrea Radrizzani told the YEP last week that he and fellow shareholder Massimo Cellino intended to hold talks with Monk about his 12-month rolling contract with a view to ensuring the 37-year-old remains in charge for the foreseeable future.

Monk came to Leeds in June with an impressive reputation earned from his first managerial job at Swansea City but his stock has risen dramatically in his time in charge of United’s first team.

The club are third in the Championship with 20 games of the season to play, creating the prospect of a first appearance in the division’s play-offs since 2006 and a first promotion to the Premier League in 13 years.

Cellino, who sanctioned Monk’s appointment having gone through six previous first-team bosses in two years as owner, kept the terms of his contract short when the original deal was signed.

Monk’s performance, however, and that of his backroom team is putting them in line for extensions. Speaking last Saturday, Radrizzani said: “The intention of both parties and Garry is to continue (with Monk as head coach). We will sit down at a certain point and discuss the details.”

Monk said: “It’s a situation which I’m sure will come up. At that point the negotiations will be very clear. But right now I really am focused on my team and making sure we can have a really good second half of the season.

“All of that other stuff, myself and my staff will be taken care of I’m sure. My focus is only on this team.”

But asked if he saw his job at Elland Road as a long-term project, Monk said: “Of course. I came here to put something in place which I felt the club hadn’t had before. We’re working in that way.

“As a manager you come with the focus of developing something. Football doesn’t always allow you that in management but I work with a short-term view to get the right results as quickly as possible, which then allows you to have a longer-term view of what you want to do. As a manager you always have a mixture of both.

“So yes, we’re building something and trying to put something in place with this group and this club. My full focus is on that and on doing my best from day one. That will always continue for as long as I’m at the club.”

Monk’s attention is more closely fixed on the January transfer window with Leeds 11 days away from this month’s deadline.

United’s boss aims to sign a striker and a winger before the window closes and the club are maintaining their interest in West Ham United’s Ashley Fletcher and Norwich City’s Sergi Canos.

Leeds hope to land Fletcher on a temporary basis but remain reliant on West Ham securing new strikers of their own. The Elland Road club also want to sign 19-year-old Canos on loan with a view to a permanent deal.

Monk said: “Nothing’s imminent but the club are working very hard on making sure we can get one or two through the door.

“Like I said before, it’s to help the squad. It’s to give them the best chance. I’m very happy with this squad and proud to be working with these players. It’s something I want to do to help them and they understand that.

“January’s never an easy window and it’s not as easy as identifying a player and he then comes through the door but we’re very hopeful that things can be done.

“You never close the door on anything but one thing’s for sure – it has to be the right player. They have to fit into what we’re doing and fit into a group who are doing fantastically well. Those things are being taking into account.”

Out-of-favour midfielder Toumani Diagouraga, who has not played since the first weekend of the season, was close to joining Rotherham United on loan last week before the deal ran into difficulty. Leeds, however, are working to push that transfer over the line.