Leeds United transfer scepticism amid takeover wait as Whites prioritise key trio for Championship

Leeds United are staring down the barrel of relegation going into the final day of the Premier League season and this time it’s fully loaded.
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The Whites escaped the drop this time last year thanks to their win at Brentford and Burnley’s loss to Newcastle United. But this time round, not only do the Whites need to beat Tottenham Hotspur, they need to pray for the right results in both games involving fellow strugglers Everton and Leicester City. Safety depends on three separate outcomes and the chances of survival have been given a three per cent rating.

So much of the talk around the club at present revolves not only around league status but the boardroom and more specifically, who sits in it. A takeover by the 49ers is expected to go through in the event of Leeds staying up, but it’s also now looking likely if they go down, as the Americans remain serious about a purchase regardless at a time when Andrea Radrizzani is making moves to get involved at Sampdoria.

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No matter what happens, a squad rebuild is necessary but relegation brings a number of almost certain departures. The books will need to be balanced through player sales and parachute payments, some might decide to seek their top flight fortune elsewhere and some, younger players predominantly, will view the second tier as their ticket to game time. Leeds have views on the players they would seek to try and keep in order to make them the centre of a new side.

Here are 26 of your questions on where things stand at Elland Road and what this summer, one of incredible change, could look like on the playing front and in the corridors of power.

Leeds United Q and A

Key Events

  • With a three per cent chance of survival, thoughts are turning to the Championship
  • Is the Radrizzani era in its final days now?
  • Urgency needed with recruitment decisions and timing key

@Brownie89: Is it likely Leeds will go back to try to get Andoni Iraola as our new manager? He was clearly first choice when Marsch was sacked. Depending of course on whether we stay in the Prem or not. I believe his contract expires in June.

He was clearly Victor Orta’s first choice when Jesse Marsch was sacked, and Orta is no longer here. Leeds is a huge club, even in the Championship, so the project might still capture his attention but I’m not sure the club will be so keen to specifically revisit the shortlist Orta worked on, unsuccessfully, earlier this season. They won’t lack candidates if the project is plausible and sensible.

@ralph98bownas: Can you pronounce Gyökeres better than Phil?

Oh without a doubt. Gyökeres. There. See?

@KieranD_Awsom: Is Rutter on the list to stay even in the Championship? Or likely one that can recoup a healthy sum - presumably a lot lower than the 35m in Jan?

Ah, Georginio Rutter. How must he be feeling? Pretty low I would imagine. If any of that noise about him shedding tears upon a reluctant goodbye to Hoffenheim was true, then his mood will not have been helped at all by the way things have worked out at Leeds. He’s a very young player who still holds a lot of potential so there’s definitely a way back for him under the right man-management. There is no way anyone gives you all your money back for him this summer. Perhaps, if he isn’t quite to the new manager’s taste, then a loan back to Germany or his native France would be sensible to allow him to bounce back and prove to everyone that there’s a real talent there, one worth investing in.

@jblufc89: What are your thoughts on big Sam’s comments about Rutter? Deflection away from players that are actually playing?

Well he made it clear before the weekend that Rutter was not one for this season. So the assumption has to be that he’s on the bench to make up the numbers, or Allardyce simply does not see him as a centre forward but a wide player. It cannot have been easy watching Rodrigo limp around, then hearing your manager say after the game that there were no centre forwards on the bench to bring on. I don’t imagine for one second that Allardyce would dig out such a young player to try to protect those more likely to start. It’s just an unfortunate, yet very Leeds 2022/, situation.

@TotalLeedsball: With Leeds without a DOF, are the links to players simply lazy connect-the-dots stories or are actual discussions taking place? Side question, if it's the latter, then who's having those meetings?

We’re told the scouting team has still been running in the background but with no one to lead the project and no certainty of who will own it this summer, what concrete stuff can they actually be working on? This, in turn, makes me look at any transfer links in an even more sceptical way.

@davidsonmj77: What’s the likelihood of Radrizzani staying in the event of relegation and do you know if Bielsa has ever given an interview regarding his time at Leeds?

I suppose it is possible that Radrizzani decides that his best course of action is to stay, use the parachute payments and player sales to fund a real crack at promotion and then sell the club at its Premier League price next summer. If that was the case, how would fans respond? How many would tolerate his continued presence at the club? The Sampdoria stuff in particular makes me think an exit is nigh and the 49ers are said to be keen on a takeover regardless of Sunday’s outcome.

@Leedsmariner: What three things are you looking forward to about us playing in the Championship and what three things won’t you miss about the Premier League?

If Leeds are relegated then I’ll look forward, with a reasonable expectation, to reporting on victories again. I’ll look forward to Joe driving me to Plymouth on a Tuesday. And I’ll look forward to Archie Gray’s debut and proper involvement in the first team.

I won’t miss the Premier League anthem. I won’t miss travelling to Bournemouth. And if Everton escape the drop I won’t miss the Goodison press box. It wasn’t made for humans.

@Ellam9: If you had to pick anyone from the world of soaps past or present to manage Leeds next season who would it be any why?

Jack Duckworth, without a doubt. If you know, you know.

@GazBazUK: You travel back in time to a day before the start of the 21/22 season. To try and prevent the downward spiral of Leeds United you can tell only one person one thing that they will change or do differently... who are you telling and what are you telling them?

This is an incredible question. Incredible. One day before the season leaves little time to work with, but you could still impact the club through recruitment because the window was still open at that stage. That said, what would have helped most? Telling Victor Orta to sign a striker instead of Daniel James would have put the side in a better place to deal with Patrick Bamford’s absence, but try explaining that to Marcelo Bielsa, who really liked Daniel James. Telling Orta to sign a midfielder, one acceptable to Bielsa, would feel sensible, wouldn’t it? It might have made a big difference.

The more I think about this the more helpless I feel to prevent the downward spiral. Telling Andreai Radrizzani to sell up there and then would, I suppose, give the 49ers a little time to work in the summer transfer window, then January and the summer of 2022 might have looked different. There’s no guarantees they would have got it right, though, or found players Bielsa actually wanted. There’s also no guarantee that if you prevented the downfall to this point, with Radrizzani therefore still in charge and Orta still in place, that the project would not have met its doom a little while later.

Maybe the most interesting spanner you could throw into the works, knowing everything that we know now, would be to tell Radrizzani to stick with Bielsa through that rough patch when the team looked lost. What would Leeds look like today, had he remained and either taken them down or kept them up? As much as Bielsa’s exit felt necessary to me then, you look back now and get a sense that the club lost someone of tremendous value, a unifying figurehead, and gained what? One more year in the top flight and a descent into madness no one could have envisaged back in 2021 or even early 2022. Was it worth it?

@looneyleeds: Favourite pub in Bangor Graham? I MUST know

Jamaica Inn for nostalgia (it was accessible, shall we say, back in the day even for one as babyfaced as I but I’m sure the modern day bouncers carry out appropriate and stringent ID checks), views and the food.