Leeds United's 31 burning questions on Kalvin Phillips' contract, Raphinha, Cody Drameh and summer transfers

The international break has allowed Leeds United to lick their wounds from a bruising win at Wolves and prepare for the Premier League relegation run-in, but it's far from quiet.

By Graham Smyth
Wednesday, 23rd March 2022, 12:35 pm
Updated Wednesday, 23rd March 2022, 12:36 pm

Barcelona's interest in Raphinha is the talk of European football and although Leeds are well aware of the Spanish giants' admiration for the winger, they're determined to get a fair price if a sale has to be made. That issue and many others are covered in our latest Q and A, with 31 of your questions answered with what we know and think right now.

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Click HERE for the latest on Raphinha.

STAR MAN - Leeds United have no intention of letting Raphinha go to Barcelona on the cheap this summer. Pic: Getty

Leeds United Q and A

Last updated: Wednesday, 23 March, 2022, 11:51

  • Raphinha latest as Barcelona make interest clear
  • Summer recruitment - scale and need
  • Future Elland Road plans
  • Cody Drameh - what next?

Joe Wainman: Can you put to bed this release clause chatter when it comes to Raphinha. Is there one or not?

We’re told there is no buy-out clause. What we don’t know is if there’s a relegation clause that would allow a club to pick him up on the cheap. Of course he’ll go if Leeds go down, but with that situation looking unlikely they should be able to set the price this summer. It should be a significant sum, enough to reinvest properly in the squad.

Click HERE for our latest story on Raphinha and Barcelona.

@_jessflynnx: How many players do you think we’ll realistically sign this summer? And do you know what positions are being looked at to improve?

I think they’ll look to do a lot more recruitment this summer than last. It’s necessary. They need to build a squad that has more quality in it, so the default replacements are not untested youngsters. I could see them doing four first team signings and then some 23s recruitment after that. As for positions, they still need more at left-back, in central midfield, up front and maybe an attacking midfielder to replace Raphinha if he goes. An experienced number two goalkeeper would still be a reassuring signing to back up Illan Meslier, although Kristoffer Klaesson did very well in his cameo at Wolves.

Shaun Cronin: Just wondering if Leeds do stay up and go ahead with the plans to redevelop Elland Road, would that hurt plans to reinvest in the squad? We saw how much new stadium build hurt Arsenal and Spurs in the transfer market, I know this is too a lesser extent, but it would still surely hurt us in the transfer market though. Should Leeds reinvest in the team first and wait another season to do the redevelopment work?

I don’t think Elland Road redevelopment will take place this summer. I think the immediate concern is staying in the Premier League, then investing in the squad this summer and creating a more permanent set-up under Jesse Marsch. There will be more changes in the staff. I suspect we won’t see serious Elland Road redevelopment of the kind that has been talked about by Angus Kinnear, until the ownership picture becomes clearer.

@Ben14415430: Is there new investment to fund a squad overhaul in the summer or will it have to be funded through player sales ie Raphinha?

I think regardless of Raphinha’s possible sale we’ll see investment in the squad this summer. That sale would help, undoubtedly, because it should represent a huge amount of profit, but their entire summer recruitment won’t be dependent on selling Raphinha.

@FrenchT97: Morning Graham, any chance the club may organise something for Bielsa to come back and say his proper goodbyes to the fans?

I’m quite sure the club will move to mark Marcelo Bielsa’s tenure, when the time is right. As for a return visit to Leeds for Bielsa - this is just my opinion - I don’t see it. Not in the short term at least. Losing the job definitely hurt Bielsa and after such a long, intense period away from home, I would be stunned to see him come back in order to go through all the emotion again so soon.

Callum Sowerby: Do we have a list of players for if we stay up and if we go down? Also, will Radz sell in summer?

Undoubtedly, Victor Orta will have a number of lists for possibilities that may arise. I personally think he’ll be recruiting players for a third Premier League season. As for the ownership change, I think everyone is expecting the 49ers to make their move at some point. The summer might well be the right time to do it, right at the start of a new managerial tenure and heading into a third top flight season. We’ll see.

@AndyLUFC_: Do you think Phillips will sign a new contract?

Yes. He wants one, Leeds are obviously determined to keep him on board this summer and it just makes sense to get it done.

Brian Murray: Do Leeds look at NI Premier or League of Ireland for talent?

Yes they do. They signed Charlie Allen from Linfield and took Crusaders teenager Jack Patterson on trial more recently. There will be few markets, if any, that Victor Orta’s team are not keeping tabs on. It makes good sense to have eyes and ears on the leagues so close to home.

Leo Thomson: What are your thoughts on Jesse Marsch so far and the sacking of Bielsa? Do you think it was justified? Will Marsch keep us up?

On the Thursday before the Spurs game I wrote that giving Bielsa’s job to someone else was unthinkable. On the Friday the odds on Bielsa’s departure were crashing and at Elland Road on the Saturday it suddenly felt like something was happening. By full-time it almost felt inevitable and, of course, word then emerged that Jesse Marsch was waiting in the wings and Bielsa’s position was under genuine threat. By Saturday night we knew it would be happening the following day. It all happened so quickly and my immediate feeling was that Leeds were taking a huge risk because if Marsch could not keep them up, and Bielsa had been sacrificed for nothing, the atmosphere would have been truly toxic around the club. Looking back, you can see why an owner might have been getting jittery over the league position, the performances, the scorelines and the sense that it wasn’t getting much better. Leeds were in a hole. We’ll never know, though, whether or not Bielsa would have got the wins they needed. He might well have.

As for Marsch, the performance at Leicester was good, the Aston Villa game and his post-game press conference were worrying because they looked lost. He sounded a bit lost. Since then of course the team’s character has shone through and put them within two wins of safety, which they should manage without that much trouble. We don’t yet know what it’s really going to look like under Marsch so it’s hard to make any predictions beyond this season.

Jordan Lewis Tennant: Thoughts on Jesse so far?

We can’t say too much about his football, so far, but he’s certainly difficult to dislike. His positivity was needed, although it rang a little empty after Aston Villa, and the arm-round-the-shoulder approach to man-management was clearly needed by one or two. Replacing Marcelo Bielsa is a huge and daunting task in itself, without being parachuted into a relegation battle, so time and patience are needed. Marsch’s press conferences have been interesting and vastly different to what we were used to with Bielsa. I like the impromptu injury update that Marsch arrives in the room with. I quite like the passion on the sideline. It’s early days but he’s clearly got something about him.

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