Leeds United look set to tap into Sevilla’s recruitment model again by adding former footballer Dani Salas to their scouting team.
Reports in Spain say Salas will leave Sevilla in the weeks ahead to link up with Leeds and help establish a new system of recruitment under club owner Andrea Radrizzani.
Salas is known to Victor Orta, another former Sevilla employee who Radrizzani named as United’s new director of football last week.
Both men worked as part of the technical staff established at Sevilla by Ramon Rodriguez, the Spaniard known as ‘Monchi’ who oversaw a major and successful shake-up of the club’s transfer methods more than 15 years ago.
Salas, who is still on the books at Sevilla but expected to leave the Spanish club shortly, focused on scouting in Portugal and South America and was also tasked recently with tracking Oguzhan Ozyakup, the Besiktas midfielder and a long-term target of Sevilla’s.
He moved into scouting after a brief and largely unsuccessful playing career which saw him turn out for Sevilla’s reserve team but fail to make their senior side.
The involvement of Orta and Salas, following on from the addition of ex-Real Madrid strategist Ivan Bravo to the board of directors at Elland Road, is a firm indication of a fresh approach to scouting and recruitment under Radrizzani.
Radrizzani played down suggestions that his buy-out of Massimo Cellino last month would lead to a drastic increase in spending on players, telling the YEP: “It will be a rational approach. I’ve seen many cases of new owners coming in, injecting money quickly and without a plan or a project. They went bust pretty soon and in the Championship you see a lot of turnover of owners. That’s the last thing I wish for.
“I wish to give continuity here so I need to be stable and plan rational investment. That means investing in players at the right age to develop, not in an old player who comes here with no desire, big wages and in a few years we are bankrupt. We need to be under control.
“We’ve seen clubs with a bigger budget than Leeds United finishing the season in 15th or 16th place. It’s not always money equals results.”
Radrizzani’s buy-out of Cellino, who initially sold 50 per cent of shares to his fellow Italian in January, was sealed within three weeks of the end of the Championship season.
Completion of the takeover was held up briefly by a number of issues, including discussions over the near-£17m debt which was owed to former Leeds owner Gulf Finance House.
The liability emerged after Cellino bought majority control of Leeds from GFH in 2014 and, prior to Radrizzani’s takeover, was due to be paid back to the Bahraini bank in annual instalments until 2032. Radrizzani, however, is understood to have paid around half of that debt up front and plans to fund the rest in structured payments.
Radrizzani said Cellino’s input at Elland Road, including his decision to buy all of GFH’s remaining shares last September and rid the bank from the boardroom, had made United a saleable asset.
“Without his work I could not even look at this club as a potential investment,” he said.
Cellino, 60, targeted promotion to the Premier League within two years of his own takeover but left the club with Leeds still in the Championship.
Radrizzani, whose search for a new manager in the aftermath of Garry Monk’s resignation is on-going, said: “I’m younger than Massimo so I will say five years is my timeline.
“If I haven’t done a project in five years and achieved the Premier League in five years then I’ve probably failed in my objective and it is right that someone else might try.”