Leeds United

Leeds United

Premier League • England

Marcelo Bielsa casts doubt on Leeds transfer plans after revealing cost of January targets

James Marshment
Marcelo Bielsa, Leeds win at Leicester

Leeds United’s hopes of adding to their squad in the January transfer window have been put into doubt by manager Marcelo Bielsa.

The Whites have endured a tricky start to the season and their run of two wins from 12 games leaves them in peril. Indeed, despite an excellent first-half display, they allowed a 1-0 lead to slip in being beaten 2-1 at Tottenham on Sunday. You can see our Player Ratings from the game right here.

That leaves Leeds down in 17th place, just two points clear of Burnley in the relegation zone.

Next on the horizon for Leeds is a televised trip to Brighton, while a home date with Crystal Palace follows. After that is another home game with Brentford the visitors on Sunday December 5.

Indeed, it’s imperative that United take something from their next three games with a tricky run following that. Indeed, after the clash with the Bees, the Whites next face away trips to Chelsea, Manchester City and Liverpool. A home date with Arsenal lies in between the trips to the Etihad and Anfield.

One major plus from Sunday’s defeat at Tottenham was the continued good form of the returning Adam Forshaw. After two years out with a hip problem, his return to the midfield has been a very welcome plus for Leeds.

Nonetheless, Leeds fans do still hope the club strengthens their hand in the January window. The club still feels a little light in midfield, while a new option to play in attack would also be welcome. To that end, Leeds have been linked once again with a former loanee.

However, Bielsa has cast serious doubts over whether the club will indeed spend in January.

Leeds one of a number of clubs interested in Eddie Nketiah

Arsenal forward Eddie Nketiah has been linked with a January return to Leeds United, with more news on Ross Barkley and Marcus Edwards.

Quoted by The Athletic’s Phil Hay, he says Bielsa already feels well backed by the club. Furthermore, any players he’s identified would likely cost the club £20m – £30m.

Hay wrote: “Bielsa asked about January window and whether he needs to add players. Says it would depend on getting better players than he has, and they can be expensive. Says adding to the group ‘should not be evaluated without looking at the economic possibilities’.”

Hay added: “Re-iterated again that he feels Leeds have already invested heavily in players on his watch. Says a lot of suitable players fall into the £20million/£30million bracket.”

Radrizzani confident of Leeds progress

United, however, do reportedly have money to spend. Having sold more of a stake in the club to 49ers Enterprises, Leeds can count on a further financial investment from their American cousins.

As a result, chairman Andrea Radrizzani is already looking ahead. Speaking recently at a technology summit in Lisbon (via the Daily Mail), he claimed that the club’s partnership with the San Francisco 49ers can bring renewed hope.

“Now we are partnered with 49ers, this is fundamentally very important because it will be very difficult to stay in the Premier League,” he said.

“But if we stay in it this year I think we can go much more than last year. We can go into the top six.

“[We can] start to renovate the stadium and continue to grow the value of this club.”

Bielsa is in his fourth season with Leeds and Radrizzani added that the Argentine has full support from his superiors.

“When I picked Marcelo Bielsa I knew it would come with challenges. But we support him unconditionally and I think the result has been seen on the pitch,” he added.

“Also for himself, this has been the longest spell of his career as a coach, with Leeds United because as a club we supported him unconditionally.”

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