Leeds United transfer window state of play: Brenden Aaronson bid, Crysencio Summerville latest

The transfer window will close in five days and Leeds United are yet to do much in the way of business, so far.

By Graham Smyth
Wednesday, 26th January 2022, 11:28 am

Amid growing concern that Marcelo Bielsa's squad, which has been ravaged by injury this season, is stretched too thin, the Whites have been trying to bolster it with Red Bull Salzburg midfielder Brenden Aaronson. Thus far, their attempts have bore no fruit.

Here's the state of play as the window nears its end.

Ins

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Brenden Aaronson has been the priority target for Leeds this month. A midfielder who can create chances and has energy to burn, the 21-year-old has shone for Salzburg in the Austrian Bundesliga and the Champions League. Sadly for Leeds, his club view him as pivotal to any hopes they have of pulling off a shock against Bayern Munich in the Champions League last 16. Neither of Leeds' first two offers, the second of which amounted to £20m, have been accepted and the Whites are mulling over a third bid. If Victor Orta gets the sense, from his conversations with the Red Bull decision makers, that they will simply not sell this month then it makes little sense to go in with a much higher bid because that will subsequently be the starting point for summer negotiations. Leeds are adamant they will be back for Aaronson in the next window, so could be pushing up the price to their own detriment. From the outset the club were clear that this month would not see spending for spending's sake, nor would they be spending above the odds for players. Even if Aaronson is keen on a move to the Premier League, it feels unlikely that he will rock the boat at Salzburg now, particularly if his club are dead set on keeping him until at least the summer. A transfer request might only serve to take him out of action at a time when he needs to be playing in order to remain in the USMNT plans, in a World Cup year no less.

It's one to watch, still, because as Raphinha proved anything can happen in the final days of a transfer window, but with Aaronson now Stateside on international duty, Leeds are up against it. As for other additions, unless an unexpected opportunity too good to pass up comes along, it's Aaronson or nothing.

Outs

Josh Galloway has left the club to join FC United of Manchester on loan until the end of the season. The youngster had a trial at Barrow last summer, with his Elland Road future decided by that point, but the Bluebirds opted not to take him. He made his debut for the Northern Premier League outfit on Tuesday night against Whitby. The 20-year-old's contract with Leeds is up in the summer and he'll almost certainly make a permanent exit then. Bobby Kamwa is another who could leave, with no part for him to play in Leeds' current plans and a contract that expires this summer.

WANTED MAN - There are clubs interested in Leeds United winger Crysencio Summerville. Pic: Getty

Crysencio Summerville

The Dutch winger has been heavily linked with a move to Hamburg, on a long-term loan, but the YEP understands that is not something Leeds are going to do unless an opportunity presents itself to replace him in Bielsa's squad. That being said, their stance on Cody Drameh was exactly the same until, all of a sudden, it wasn't. Summerville is a wanted man for a number of clubs, which is hardly surprising given the bright cameos he's had in the Premier League. He falls into a category of player at Leeds for whom 23s football is probably a little too easy, but with Raphinha, Jack Harrison and Daniel James all ahead of him, first team minutes are hard to come by. The real problem for Summerville and others is that their proximity to the first team impacts the minutes they're able to play for the 23s and while Bielsa sees a great opportunity to possibly play Premier League football, young players just want to play all the time. His contract is up in 2023 so this is a pivotal six months or so for Summerville and his future at Leeds. It would feel unwise, at best, for Leeds to let him go anywhere without bringing someone in to fill that fourth winger spot, though.

Contracts

Raphinha's agent Deco has been in talks with Leeds and while some have questioned why the Brazilian would put pen to paper when a big move could present itself in the summer, it boils down to money. Leeds can offer a much better deal than the one he's on currently and by tagging on a year or two, protect themselves in the market. Signing a new contract will simply mean a wage more in tune with his importance to Bielsa's side, it will not mean he cannot leave in the summer. Leeds are not a club who could turn down an eyewatering offer for a player, no matter how key they are, so if some European giant comes knocking in the next window with such a bid, Raphinha's sale is likely. That money could then be reinvested in the way clubs like Leicester City have done, to strengthen the team.

There is still no word on progress when it comes to Kalvin Phillips' new deal, although the player is on record saying he wants one and the club are very open to the idea. His current contract doesn't expire for over two years so there is no immediate rush.

Two youngsters are out of contract this summer however, namely Nohan Kenneh and Harvey Sutcliffe. Beyond those two, Sam Greenwood, Summerville, Stuart McKinstry, Liam McCarron, Jeremiah Mullen, Charlie Allen and Max Deal are all out of contract in 2023, so there is some work to do to ascertain who has a long-term future at Leeds and who does not. Most of that work will come to a head a little later down the line, you'd expect, rather than in this window.

Areas of concern

There are a couple, no matter how optimistic a view you take on the injuries and return dates of current absentees. Leeds could do with a left-back, although with Junior Firpo, Stuart Dallas, Pascal Struijk and Leo Hjelde all now able to play there, perhaps it's not an urgent need. They need a goalkeeper. Illan Meslier is the undisputed number one yet Kristoffer Klaesson has not been able to put pressure on the Frenchman. What's more, Klaesson has had his struggles in Under 23s football during his adaptation period and does not seem as ready for senior football as Meslier did at the same stage. Were something to happen to Meslier, throwing Klaesson in would be a big risk for a club closer to the wrong end of the table than they would like. The midfield is the area where Leeds' actions have all but admitted a concern but as stated, it's still Aaronson or nothing in the next week. As for strikers, Joe Gelhardt, Rodrigo and Tyler Roberts' return to fitness, regardless of their success in front of goal this season, is enough to content Bielsa until such a time as Patrick Bamford finally returns from injury. As the Argentine has shown, he'll happily play Daniel James there if he has to.