Leeds United transfer state of play with striker policy clear, 21s deals possible and likely outs

Leeds United are unlikely to add to their squad before the Premier League season begins but are still plotting further moves before the summer transfer window deadline.

By Graham Smyth
Tuesday, 2nd August 2022, 5:00 pm
Updated Tuesday, 2nd August 2022, 5:00 pm

The new campaign, Jesse Marsch’s first full one in charge of the Whites, kicks off in four days time and although the American spoke about the desire to make decisions on targets this week the YEP understands that no incoming deals are anticipated before the Wolves game on Saturday.

Here’s the state of play at Elland Road when it comes to their remaining business and possible departures.

Incoming

Marsch still wants a striker and a left-back to complete his squad. Both needs are relatively urgent.

Patrick Bamford is fit and raring to go after a rancid 2021/22 season but it was precisely his absences that highlighted the need for another forward at Leeds. Junior Firpo’s pre-season injury did the same at left-back, although most would have considered that an area in need of strengthening even before Leif Davis was sold to Ipswich having failed to cement a place in Marsch’s plans.

When it comes to the forward vacancy, Charles De Ketelaere, their main target in the window, would have been perfect. A player identified as special by Victor Orta’s head of European recruitment Gaby Ruiz, De Ketelaere could have played instead of Bamford or, more likely, behind him in the middle of the three attacking midfielders in Marsch’s 4-2-3-1. The Belgian could also have played in front pairing if Marsch went with a 4-2-2-2 formation. Alas, he’s signing for AC Milan despite Leeds’ best efforts and an offer they tabled that trumped the one Milan initially put forward. De Ketelaere wanted to go to the San Siro and so Leeds returned to the drawing board.

Stade Rennais’ Martin Terrier, a man for whom nominative determinism appears at play when it comes to a move to Yorkshire, has been another option under consideration although his price and age could be sticking points. They like Arnaud Kalimuendo of PSG too and so do lots of clubs. He’s more of a nine than a versatile option.

HIGH PRICE - Martin Terrier of Rennes is a player Leeds United have considered for their forward vacancy but his price could be a sticking point. Pic: Getty

Che Adams is a player Leeds have also given some thought to, but does not currently appear at the top of Orta’s list.

What is clear is that Leeds are determined to be as certain about their new striker as they were previous signings this summer, so a lot of thought is going into the discussions with majority owner Andrea Radrizzani this week. Rodrigo’s hat-trick against Cagliari was food for thought and the expectation is for Joe Gelhardt to play a bigger part this season, yet the need for another remains and the profile Leeds would most like is one of a player who could operate behind Bamford or, in the event of the first choice striker being unavailable, as a number nine.

Better to get the right one before the September 1 deadline than the wrong one before the Wolves game, but get one they must. And a left-back, too. If you were greedy, or simply one who liked to have all boxes ticked, then an experienced goalkeeper to back up and challenge Illan Meslier would be ideal yet there’s little noise on that front right now.

Outgoing

There has been no new bid from Newcastle United for Jack Harrison, the YEP understands. Leeds have knocked back one bid from the Magpies this summer and Marsch is very keen on Harrison. What plays in Leeds’ favour here is that the price they might accept would leave Newcastle very little left in the budget to get their other business done. The end of a transfer window does funny things to people but unless Newcastle come back with a staggering sum then expect Harrison to stay put.

Helder Costa and Ian Poveda will almost certainly go and Mateusz Klich might. Marsch has no issue with the player’s attitude or his presence in the squad but it’s currently difficult to see where Klich’s gametime is coming from and that might force the issue, with the Poland international setting his heart on the World Cup. At present, there is nothing particularly brewing on that front, however.

Leeds are anticipating a couple more to go out on loan in the next few days and Lewis Bate is one of those. The midfielder needs game time, he needs a more difficult challenge than Under 21s football and he will head out. Stuart McKinstry is another for whom a temporary spell away from Thorp Arch is looming. It looked likely that he would secure something, along with a new contract, before Leeds departed for Australia but movement stalled. Max Dean might fancy a crack at senior football too once fully fit and well and although Mateusz Bogusz' return to training is scheduled for around the time of the window closing, you could see him going out on loan again.

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Under 21s

Head of emerging talent Craig Dean, now based at Thorp Arch, still has a small number of targets he would like to land before the deadline. Senior business takes priority but it would not be a surprise to see a young left-back come in at the very least. Leeds haven’t managed to sign a left-sided counterpart for Cody Drameh since his 2020 arrival. They have tried – there were 2021 bids for Matthew Anderson of Celtic knocked back. It’s one of the areas in which Michael Skubala’s 21s side could do with some fresh blood.

Contracts

Getting Gelhardt, Sam Greenwood and Crysencio Summerville tied down to long term deals was important summer business and Leeds are delighted to have ticked that box. Another youngster, one of Skubala’s Under 21s is on the verge of a new deal too.