Leeds United transfer scare underlines unsung hero status of Premier League survival

Leeds United winger Jack Harrison has been involved in 26% of the Whites' goals since promotion from the Championship

By Joe Donnohue
Wednesday, 25th May 2022, 3:30 pm

Leeds United's summer business revolves around the potential sales of Raphinha and Kalvin Phillips.

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Figures in the region of £100 million have been suggested if Leeds are persuaded to offload the pair for what many perceive to be their market values, thus facilitating a squad-wide rebuild.

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REPORTS: Jack Harrison is the subject of reported interest from Newcastle United (Photo by Craig Mercer/MB Media/Getty Images)

Supporters the length and breadth of the country will hope to retain United's influential duo, but recognise a 17th place finish, secured only in the final minutes of the Premier League season, is perhaps not the level either player aspires to.

While the summer transfer limelight will shine ferociously upon Raphinha and Phillips' futures, there will undoubtedly be other players who move on from United's first-team squad, as is the habitual churn of Premier League teams.

An early summer rumour has arisen linking Jack Harrison with Newcastle United, according to The Telegraph.

The North East club intend to bolster their ranks this summer, building on a successful start to life under new head coach Eddie Howe.

Harrison is well-regarded at Elland Road and last summer signed a three-year contract with Leeds following a three-season loan spell from Manchester City.

Having scored 18 times and recorded 10 assists since promotion to the top flight, Harrison has been a regular goal-getter and provider for the Whites.

Earlier this season, it was suggested Harrison was a possible target for Tottenham Hotspur as a left-sided wing-back, owing to his defensive work-rate and familiarity with defending in Marcelo Bielsa's old man-to-man system.

While nothing came of the purported Spurs interest, it appears Harrison has admirers throughout the Premier League.

The winger's perception at Leeds is that he has not quite hit the heights Raphinha has achieved on the opposite flank, although their output is relatively similar.

Since joining the club, Raphinha has scored 17 times - one fewer than Harrison in the same period - and several of those have been from the penalty spot.

During 2021/22, Jack Harrison was the only Leeds United player to score ten-or-more non-penalty goals in the entire squad.

By comparison, Raphinha's 11-goal haul for the season included four penalty kicks.

Admittedly, Harrison outperformed his Expected Goals total by some distance this season while Raphinha's xG fell very much in line with his actual goalscoring output.

This suggests a regression on Harrison's part in future, while Raphinha would be expected to continue on a similar trajectory.

Nevertheless, Harrison's involvement in 26% of Leeds United goals across all competitions since the team's promotion should not be sniffed at, particularly if the Whites do lose Raphinha this summer.

Reported interest in the Englishman may have caught Leeds off-guard, jolting some sections of the fanbase into quantifying and appreciating the former New York City FC winger's output in the top flight.