Reports from journalist Alan Nixon yesterday revealed that Leeds are to link up with Spanish second division side Cultural Leonesa in a new partnership that would see Leeds use Leonesa as a feeder club and help develop the young players at both clubs.
The partnership is very exciting and is another layer of foundation put down by the club to improve the future, both on and off the pitch. The breakdown of a partnership such as this is pretty simple. Leeds would be the club who fund the deal and will benefit more, but it is certainly a deal that means it has there perks for both clubs. Youngsters will be put into the Leeds academy when they are deemed to be a good prospect and Leeds will be able to loan some of their players to Leonesa, both to play in the first-team and the youth teams. A good example of this is a previous deal between Leeds and Guiseley a few years ago.
The academy project is taking shape, players from both Barcelona and Real Madrid have arrived in recent days and others have also came through the door at Thorp Arch. This deal shouldn’t really come as a shock, albeit a nice and encouraging surprise. Ivan Bravo is clearly making his presence known at the club and Victo Orta is having a huge influence, a long-term vision he seems to have the keys to, and is flourishing in the role of. Leeds being able to send youngsters to Spain to help with their development and perhaps play first-team games will only benefit us in the long-term and us having first choice on players from that club is a great opportunity.
The development is very exciting and will probably be one of the first of its kind for a Championship club, with the partner being in the Spanish second tier. What is also highlights is our strong hand in football at the moment. Striking a deal like this with a club in such a credible league shouldn’t be understated and Andrea Radrizzani is certainly making his acquisition of Leeds a long-term investment. He did say he wanted to do things the right way and for the future of the club and the purchase of Elland Road, plus the money going into the academy was a good start, and this will also make quite a statement. There will be more on this in the coming weeks and it will be interesting to see what else this partnership could include.