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First signings arrive as Leeds strive to stay within FFP limits
Monday, 1st Jul 2019 21:57 by Tim Whelan

As the first three of our summer signings are confirmed, Victor Orta says clubs in the EFL are going to have to become more creative to avoid breaching the FFP limits set by the league.

Orta told LUTV that the punishment handed out to Birmingham last season has sent shockwaves throughout the Championship, and the clubs are desperate to avoid suffering the same 12 point deduction as they try to get promoted and enjoy the vast riches of the Premier League. Under the current regulations the maximum loss over any three year period is £39m.

Orta said “It’s true there’s a new scenario in the Championship after what happened last season with Birmingham and the deduction of points. Now there are tough regulations in the Financial Fair Play and all the teams need to be creative because now the financial situation is all the people monitor and we need to have responsibility in terms of the new regulations. This is the situation: we need to be creative and we need to build a squad with the principal targets and perhaps the idea quality is better than quantity, in my opinion, in this transfer market”.

It will be some time before Leeds publish the accounts for the season just finished, but Phil Hay has already estimated there was a loss of around £15m, which probably explains the decision to cash in on Jack Clarke, and why the club has so far looked to loan deals and younger players for the season to come. First was the confirmation that Jack Harrison’s loan has been renewed for another season, though we now have the option to convert this into a permanent transfer at the end of it.

It's little surprise that Manchester City have decided to let him go, as he is unlikely to break into their expensively assembled side, though on occasions last season he did look very effective at Championship level. He scored four goals and provided four assists, including the pass of the season which set up Roofe for the goal in the away play-off game at Derby. He needs to be more consistent, but he would undoubtedly have more than just the four assists if the misfiring Bamford had been able to convert a few more of his crosses.

Harrison told LUTV “I think most people felt that we should have gone up last season, but we are all looking to get back at it now and hopefully we can get the promotion this time around. I’ve definitely learnt a lot in the last 12 months, if you look at my performances throughout the season I think I grew as a player and by the end of the season I was really getting going. I’m looking to use that as a foundation now and build from that going into the new season.”

Another loan signing is Brighton’s Ben White, who will provide backup for Jansson and Cooper, and will undoubtedly provide a better option than having to play either Phillips or Berardi out of position in central defence. The 21-year-old has made two first team appearances for Brighton and has previously had a number of loan spells at Newport (which included two cup ties against Leeds in 2017/18) and Peterborough. And White told LUTV that the opportunity to work under Marcello Bielsa was a big factor in attracting him to come to Leeds.

“When I heard of the opportunity to come, I was just so excited to get it over the line and I’m absolutely buzzing. I’ve heard loads about Marcelo Bielsa, he is an amazing manager, especially with young players and I’m sure he is going to really improve me, which is what I am looking to do this season. I’m cool and calm on the ball, I like to play out from the back and I want to try and play as many games as I can – I’ve come here to win games. I’m looking forward to meeting everyone at Thorp Arch, I haven’t trained yet, so the rest of the team are a week ahead, but I’m really looking forward to getting stuck into it.”

The third confirmed transfer is a permanent signing, with Carlisle’s 18-year-old winger Liam McCarron joining us from Carlisle United for an undisclosed fee and has penned a three-year deal at Elland Road. He has made 20 appearances in all competitions for the Cumbrians and Leeds signed him in the face of competition from a number of Premier League and Championship clubs. McCarron will initially be part of Carlos Corberan’s Under-23 side, though will joining the first team squad if need be.

And the next loan deal is likely to be our very own Jack Clarke. The Guardian reported at the weekend that Spurs are about to sign Clarke for an initial £10 million in a deal that could rise to £11.5 million if he fulfils his potential, but it’s expected that one of the terms of the expected deal however, is that he will return to Leeds for a season-long loan. In the second half of last season Clarke failed to live up to his initial promise, due to a combination of his health problem and the fact he was becoming more tightly marked. So he clearly won’t be challenging for a first team place at Spurs just yet, but the North London mob obviously want to snap him up before anyone else did.

It's looking highly unlikely that we’re going to run out of options in wide areas, as negotiations with Wolves continue over a season long loan for yet another winger, in the shape of Portuguese international Helder Costa. He is well acquainted with the Championship, having been part of their promotion-winning side the season before last, though he made only 16 starts in the Premier League. As with Harrison, the deal is likely to involve a clause allowing us to sign him permanently in a year’s time, though we’d probably have to have been promoted to do so, as the 25 year-old cost Wolves £13million when they bought him from Monaco in January 2017.

So there will certainly be competition for places on the wings, with Alioski also looking to return to a more forward position on the left once Douglas has returned to full fitness. At least the influx of wingers will mean that Hernandez can move into the central midfield position he prefers, without having to play wide on the right. Overall, it’s good to see that the club have made a start in improving the squad while keeping the finances in order, but we will need to give the squad some options in a few other positions before August comes round.

Reuters Media Express

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