The week ahead is the first full week in which everyone is aware the transfer window is open domestically and the season is effectively over. Leeds returned for Myanmar last weekend and had a week of organising a huge World Title fight and can now really turn all attentions into next season’s playing squad.
There are some immediate deals which are clearly on the agenda and all of them are high-profile. The first is the deal to bring Kyle Bartley back to Leeds United. Bartley will probably be heading away soon on his holidays, two of which are with Leeds United’s Luke Ayling. Doing a deal with Swansea was never going to be straightforward because they know that Leeds have made Bartley target number one for the summer. Their relegation to the Championship complicated things more because they are now selling to a direct rival but the key is they are willing to sell. Bartley has made his position very clear, he’s told Swansea he wants out and he’s told his agent he wants Leeds. The club believe they can do a deal for around £4 million and Phil Hay confirmed they believe they can do it early in the transfer window. Hopefully a full week with that as the number one priority can push things along, that deal is so important to Leeds United that £4 million is a small price to pay. A defender yes, and a very good defender at that but more importantly a leader, a captain and we haven’t had one since he left.
Other targets have been made public as well in the last couple of weeks and Leeds can now ramp up interest and try to get some progression. Abel Hernandez is the most ambitious deal we’ve heard of in years, a player who cost £10 million and has a track record that turns heads at this level, not to mention wages currently around £50k but Leeds are clearly hopeful and confident they can draw up a package that could lure the Uruguayan striker from Hull, competition is fierce, but one way or another all we can do is try, and this week will probably shed some light on the direction that one is headed. A more low-profile signing could be Gavin Whyte from Crusaders in Northern Ireland. The player will be meeting up with Stuart Dallas and Baily Peacock-Farrell in the next week and could well be heading to Elland Road. The Northern Irish Premier Player of the Year has potential, and although it would be a gamble, when we are looking to add players like Bartley and Hernandez it seems like a gamble we can afford.
We may also see some players start to be linked elsewhere. Pawel Cibicki has interest from Asia but is keen to stay in Europe, a move to Poland has always seemed likely so we may see some movement there. Hadi Sacko basically said his goodbyes last week and others will want to make their move early in the window knowing they aren’t in the plans at Elland Road. Felix Wiedwald, Vurnon Anita are a couple that will be moved on if possible and there will be more I’m sure as Leeds look to clear some of the players who simply haven’t made an impact at Leeds United. We may also get news on a deal to keep Tom Pearce at the club, or news that he won’t be staying but either way that needs resolving soon, indications are now that he will stay but we can’t count on that unless a deal is signed. This is a big week for the club, setting our stall out early has always been an issue, this season we do seem to be at work quicker than we have been in recent years.