Leeds United's summer plan reveals transfer urgency as Victor Orta handed soft deadline

Leeds United's pre-season schedule sees the Whites feature take on Brisbane Roar, Aston Villa and Crystal Palace in Australia during July

By Joe Donnohue
Friday, 29th April 2022, 6:00 am

Leeds United have unveiled plans to join Manchester United, Aston Villa and Crystal Palace in Australia this summer on a pre-season tour of the Gold Coast and Perth.

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The Whites will play three matches Down Under, versus Steven Gerrard's Villa, Patrick Vieira's Palace and A-League side Brisbane Roar over an eight-day period in mid-July.

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LECTURE: Leeds United defender Junior Firpo [left] was signed shortly after the transfer window opened last summer (Photo: GEOFF CADDICK/AFP via Getty Images)

Leeds United's Australian board member Peter Lowy is likely to be in support of the decision given his family's background and involvement with the Australian Football Association, even if the football is a non-competitive footnote.

Pre-season tours are often more about public relations, sponsorship deals and gaining match sharpness, but for supporters unable to make the trip over to Elland Road during the regular season, the chance to witness their team will be a priceless one.

Despite the cynicism around off-field motives, pre-season tours do serve as opportunity to build rapport within squads and this summer, will be the first real chance Jesse Marsch and his team can familiarise themselves with the players as a captive audience.

The head coach is currently working with a skeleton crew of trusted staff members but aims to add further bodies behind-the-scenes during the off-season.

There will be emphasis to expedite this process in the weeks that follow United's final game of the season on May 22, in order to ensure a full complement of Leeds United staff will take part in the Australia tour.

Similarly, additions to the playing squad will preferably be secured ahead of the Whites' Queensland departure date. It is widely accepted that players who arrive earlier in the transfer window are better at integrating than those who arrive in the final weeks when the season has already commenced.

Additionally, new signings are unlikely to be sold on the prospect of training solo at Thorp Arch whilst the bulk of the squad bond on the other side of the world.

This leaves the club's director of football Victor Orta with a soft deadline.

Last summer, Leeds secured the permanent additions of Junior Firpo and Jack Harrison within the first week of July; Firpo joined up with the squad on the second day of pre-season therefore mitigating a delayed introduction.

A similar scenario in the coming months would be ideal, but this summer's business may yet be impacted by the club's finishing position in the Premier League table.

Last season, Leeds were mathematically safe from relegation by late March. This time around, it appears as though the team will be forced to wait another four weeks to discover their fate.

Consequently, Orta cannot finalise deals for incoming players as the club will not rubber-stamp their budget until they know which division they are competing in next season.

If Leeds are to achieve their goals next season, they give themselves their best chance of success by moving swiftly and decisively in the market.

Fortunately, the club's recruitment team are known to identify, and lay the foundations for, transfer targets ahead of time, well in advance of the window opening.

That said, the six weeks between the end of the season and the beginning of July could prove crucial on the transfer front; a period where Orta's phone will never be too far from his bespectacled gaze.