Leeds United are making plans to tie down three of their regulars this season, starting with Robin Koch, as Victor Orta puts the wheels in motion for the next phase of the club’s transfer plans.
The Whites’ solid start to the new season has been tainted in recent weeks after two defeats in their last three games. Frustratingly, two postponements in light of the Queen’s passing, means they won’t get chance to put right their 5-2 loss against Brentford until October 2.
Furthermore, that game against Aston Villa will also see Jesse Marsch serving a touchline ban. That came after punishment from the FA following the Leeds boss lamenting the decision not to award Leeds a penalty at Brentford.
That said, a promising start to the season has given Marsch a belief that Leeds can enjoy a less turbulent campaign. Last time out, the Whites only escaped relegation on the final day of the season.
And having taken seven points from their first three games, there is hope Leeds can aim for mid-table.
And three players who have been instrumental in their decent start to the new season. As such, they are now set to be rewarded with new deals.
Star winger Jack Harrison and ever-present defenders Koch and Pascal Struijk are all now entering the final two years of their deals.
The need to tie down Harrison was well documented on Friday. He was the subject of intense speculation linking him with Newcastle over the summer.
Leeds ultimately rejected their interest and have since been reaping the benefits. According to Whoscored.com, Harrison is the highest-rated English player not part of Gareth Southgate’s latest squad.
As such, tying him to a new deal is now Leeds’ top priority.
Robin Koch and Pascal Struijk also in line for new Leeds deals
Leeds also want to tie down Koch and Struijk to new deals, with their current arrangements also expiring in 2024.
The pair have played in every match for Leeds this season with their quality shining through. Koch has been impressing in the heart of defence, while Struijk has shown his versatility by covering at left-back.
Revealing Leeds’ plans to tie down the trio, Phil Hay is adamant the club are determined to reward them for their progress.
“They’ll want to keep all of them. I’m not sure it’s happened yet but I was expecting them to get into contract talks with Harrison as soon as the window closed,” he said on The Phil Hay show (17/09/22).
“They are going to have to extend his deal otherwise they are going to be in a situation by the end of the season where he’s got 12 months left and in no way could they be asking for £40million from anybody.
“I noticed Robin Koch had been left out of the Germany squad which I think will come as a bit of a surprise to him. I think he’s probably played as well in this period as he has at any stage with Leeds.
“But Struijk, again, they will want to keep Struijk without a doubt.”
Leeds need to get trio tied down quickly
Getting the trio signed up on new deals is the major priority for Victor Orta in the weeks ahead.
The club cannot afford to enter the January window with the players having just 18 months left. That scenario will leave Leeds vulnerable to potential bids.
Harrison, in particular, has been excellent for Leeds this season. He has one goal and three assists from six appearances this season. That equates to a goal involvement every 116 minutes during the 2022/23 campaign.
And if he continues to improve as he has, that place in the England squad should eventually come his way.
Koch, meanwhile, is now showing his best form for the Whites since his £13m move from Freiburg in summer 2020. His time at Elland Road has been dogged by a series of injuries. However, he’s been solid this season with only the Bees defeat a blip on this season’s CV.
Struijk also looks like he can become a Leeds star for many years yet too. Usually a dependable centre-half, he’s done well while filling in at left-back.
Long-term he will see himself as Liam Cooper’s successor in the heart of defence. And his call-up to the Netherlands’ national squad will give him hope of playing at the World Cup.