Leeds United's 49ers investment leads to January transfer questions but Marcelo Bielsa reiterates recruitment outlook

Leeds United's announcement of fresh investment from the San Fransisco 49ers came less than 90 minutes after Marcelo Bielsa reiterated his disinterest in signing new players this month.
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The backers of the NFL franchise have increased their stake to 37 per cent, ploughing a reported £50m into Elland Road for the privilege.

A cash injection from this source was always expected, with both Andrea Radrizzani and Paraag Marathe speaking openly about the prospect ever since the Whites earned promotion back to the Premier League.

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But coming when it did, with a week remaining in the January transfer window, questions about potential new signings were as inevitable as the fresh funding from the 49ers.

Bielsa will have been well aware of the club's pending announcement when he sat down to speak with the media this morning, but it will have made little difference to his outlook on recruitment.

January signings, for a head coach whose style of play necessitates a certain level of match fitness, are not often ideal. Players who might be available this month are ordinarily those upon whom their current club are not relying, week in and week out.

Bielsa almost always prefers solutions he can find within, utilising Pascal Struijk when Kalvin Phillips is unavailable or turning to Jamie Shackleton when a right-back or central midfielder is needed, for example.

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Before the window opened he was asked about the likelihood of new faces and left it open, admitting you can never say never because director of Victor Orta might happen upon a deal that is too good to pass up.

HAPPY MAN - Marcelo Bielsa is comfortable with his Leeds United squad, reiterating his outlook just 90 minutes before the club announced fresh investment from the San Fransisco 49ers. Pic: James Hardisty.HAPPY MAN - Marcelo Bielsa is comfortable with his Leeds United squad, reiterating his outlook just 90 minutes before the club announced fresh investment from the San Fransisco 49ers. Pic: James Hardisty.
HAPPY MAN - Marcelo Bielsa is comfortable with his Leeds United squad, reiterating his outlook just 90 minutes before the club announced fresh investment from the San Fransisco 49ers. Pic: James Hardisty.

The reality is, however, that with only days left to add to his squad, he is not seeking to do so.

"It's not contemplated that we are going to bring anyone in and what you have just mentioned [Orta proposing players] hasn't happened yet," he said.

"And I am happy with the squad that we have, I am comfortable with it and I feel we can finish this season with these players."

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Bielsa has had injury problems to deal with this season, most notably in the heart of his defence. Summer knee surgery has kept Gaetano Berardi out of action, Liam Cooper has missed six games with injuries and new signings Robin Koch and Diego Llorente have both encountered issues. Koch remains out after a knee operation of his own while Llorente is fit again for the first time since his only appearance of the season, the December trip to Chelsea.

In midfield, the continued absence of Adam Forshaw has left Leeds looking a little thin. That was never more evident than when Mateusz Klich limped off against West Brom, although it turned out to be no more than a niggle and the Polish international has continued to be ever-present in the Premier League, starting all 18 of the Whites' games.

The head coach is content with how Leeds have coped so far. Fresh investment is unlikely to alter his outlook.

"With regards to Berardi his injury coincided with that of Koch, Llorente, Cooper and Phillips and we have managed to resolve this," he said.

"And Forshaw's one, although it has been longer, we have managed to resolve with Klich, Philips, Shackleton and Pascal."