Leeds chief Kinnear makes January transfer statement with fresh reason for concern

Angus Kinnear Leeds United, July 2020

Leeds United chief executive Angus Kinnear has admitted that lingering relegation fears will make the January transfer window harder and more crucial for the club.

The Whites enjoyed their first season back in the Premier League last term, finishing ninth. What’s more, they claimed the most points of any newly-promoted side since Ipswich in 2001.

However, this season has been all change. Leeds sit 16th in the Premier League table, only five points above the bottom three. They have also only won three of 18 matches.

Leeds midfielder Kalvin Phillips has admitted that teams working out head coach Marcelo Bielsa’s tactics – which remain unchanged – is part of the problem.

As such – and amid an injury crisis at the club – the January transfer window will prove crucial for Leeds.

But chief executive Kinnear has warned that the need for immediately impactful arrivals this time around, compared to last January, will make the task of finding signings harder.

“Naturally, supporters will be looking to the January transfer window for reasons to be optimistic,” Kinnear wrote in his programme notes ahead of Sunday’s clash with Burnley.

“Under the custodianship of Andrea Radrizzani and the [San Francisco] 49ers, we have never failed to demonstrate our commitment to strengthen the squad in every window.

Raphinha has been linked with Bayern

Leeds United's Raphinha has been linked with Bayern Munich and Liverpool.

“However, we should not underestimate the challenge of securing targets who can meet Marcelo’s exacting standards and have the immediate impact that is required this season.”

Leeds are especially looking to bolster their midfield with the January window in its early stages.

TEAMtalk understands that the Whites remain keen on Chelsea midfielder Ross Barkley. The midfielder did not get a move away in the summer and has since struggled for game time.

Meanwhile, Huddersfield’s Lewis O’Brien is also still on the club’s radar, TEAMtalk has learned.

Bielsa doubts grow for Leeds

Marcelo Bielsa Leeds

Amid the poor first half of the season for Leeds, doubts have also surfaced over Bielsa’s future.

He has continued to sign one-year extensions since joining Leeds. After guiding the club to ninth last season, he signed up again with the hope of making further progress.

However, that has not happened – so far at least – and the Argentine admitted concerns.

“I focus on the performance of the team, and the weaknesses that we have shown were precisely the ones I had worked on to ­elevate us from last season,” he said.

Celebrating players who didn’t celebrate – Salah, Lingard, Ronaldo and more

“So when I made the ­decision to work here for one more year, it was because I had the conviction that the team could be better.

“That depended on some decisions and developments. I wanted the developments to help the team to grow – but I haven’t achieved it.

“The situations we have had to go through, I wasn’t able to resolve them as I thought I would.”

Kinnear and Bielsa were speaking ahead of Leeds’ clash with Burnley on Sunday.