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Evans hints that Summer clearout is on the cards
Monday, 8th Feb 2016 14:11 by Tim Whelan

Steve Evans is still in a grumpy mood after Saturday’s defeat by Nottingham Forest. After criticising the opposition for their boring tactics, he’s now moved on to blaming some of the players he inherited.

Evans said over the weekend that the amount of money invested in the club by Massimo Cellino should have been enough to get Leeds into play-off contention, but the problem is that it hasn’t been spent wisely by the various head coaches to have held the position under the madcap Italian before he arrived.

Now he is claiming that we need to get a few players off the wage bill before we can get any more new faces (primarily a new striker), and this was the reason why he couldn’t get the players he wanted before the transfer window shut. He told the Yorkshire Post, “all I know is that we tried to get certain players.”

“People think we woke up on deadline day and wanted to sign a player but these were things we’d been working on for two or three weeks. Up until the last couple of days it looked like we’d do one or two deals. Primarily it never happened because of financial (reasons). I don’t make those decisions but when the decision’s made that it’s too much money for the football club, I have to respect that.”

Every team, every chairman, they have a budget. There’s a lot of money been spent here on wages. So the first thing you have to do is look in before you look out. For us to do certain things, certain players will need to leave. This budget is very healthy. Back in July it was a top-six budget and it still is today. The reason you’re not in the top six is because of players, isn’t it? It’s not because you’ve not paid the money.”

During the transfer window Leeds were open to offers for Jordan Botaka, Lee Erwin and Casper Sloth, even though two of these players have been at the club for less than six months. But maybe it’s no surprise that other clubs aren’t queuing up to buy players who are surplus to requirements at Elland Road, especially if they would have to match their current wages.

We did manage to arrange a loan deal for Bianchi, which is likely to be converted into a permanent move in the summer, and it now seems likely that Antenucci won’t be offered a new contract when his current deal expires in the summer. Other possible departures could include Luke Murphy and Tom Adeyemi, now that we have a surfeit of central midfielders after the arrival of Diagouraga and Bridcutt.

And Sol Bamba could be yet another on the list, with the much maligned Bellusci the preferred option after a number of error-strewn performances from Bamba earlier in the season. And the Ivory Coast international was one of many to get a tounge-lashing from Evans, after complaining about spending so many games on the bench. “Well, that’s his problem, isn’t it? His performances need to dictate whether he should be in the team.”

We can sympathise with Evans and Cellino up to a point, as it must be galling for an owner to put up the money for the coach to sign new players, only to find that they don’t perform. But many Leeds fans will be surprised to see a lack of finance used as an excuse for a lack of activity in the last transfer window, when we received £3.7m from West Ham for Sam Byram.

Cellino must take at least part of the blame for the situation we now face, as some of the surplus players were recruited directly by him, while his rapid turnover of coaches has added to the problem, as the players signed by one coach may not suit the style his successor wants to play.

And as for Evans, it might be an easy option to criticise players he didn’t sign, but if finance is tight he’d be better off getting the best out of the players he already has, rather than demotivate them by slagging them off in public. Time to work on his tactics and fostering team spirit rather than blaming everyone but himself and his employer.

Photo: Action Images

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