Leeds Sporting Director Will Not Change Despite Fans’ Discontent

16 Jun 2022 08:41 pm, by YorkshireSquare

Victor Orta has always had a mixed relationship with Leeds United fans. There have been gems for sure, such as Raphinha, but there has been a fair amount of deadwood too. After the failure of last summer and this January’s transfer windows many fans thought he should leave the club. It is clear though that the Spaniard will not be leaving Leeds United in the offseason. After failing with recruitment during the winter window and the subsequent battle, a substantial section of fans aired their displeasure with the director of football, both in the stands and on social media.

But Orta has the managements full backing, no exit is planned and Orta is steering this summers recruitment drive that has already resulted in the signings of Brenden Aaronson and Rasmus Kristensen this month. As a result, the Spaniard will not be going out of Elland Road this summer. He is managing Leeds’ recruitment strategy for the summer transfer window, in addition to sealing the Aaronson and Kristensen signatures. It will be critical for the club’s board to demonstrate that they have realized what went wrong last season.

There is no way a significant exit like this can happen with Andrea Radrizzani as the owner. The trio Radrizzani-Orta- Angus Kinnear will very certainly continue working together as long as the Italian is in charge, until the Americans complete a full takeover at least, as he has been on this path with Orta and Kinnear from the start. Aaronson was finalized and Kristensen was close to signing too before the transfer window even opened this summer, indicating a fundamental transformation in the mentality of those leading the club.

Aaronson’s and Kristensen’s Signatures to be Followed by Two More

Leeds United are chasing deals for two more players, according to local media reports, as the board acknowledges transfer failures. Leeds Chairman Andrea Radrizzani understands that his board cannot make the same mistakes as last season if they are to avoid relegation this season. The ‘Whites’ spent the whole season flirting with the bottom three, never rising higher than 15th in a season that went down to the wire. After beating Brentford away and Burnley, losing to Newcastle on the final day, Leeds were able to keep afloat.

Even if it was merely to strengthen a youthful-looking substitute’s bench, it was clear that the squad needed reinforcements. Fans hoped to see some new legs added to a tired, forlorn-looking team as the month of January progressed. There were no new faces when the deadline passed. Fans hoped it would not come back to bite them, but they only made it by the skin of their teeth.

Since then, the Italian has confessed that they made a mistake and has been making all the proper noises to guarantee that it does not happen again in the 2022/23 season. The board has shown their support for Jesse Marsch by signing two players early in the transfer window, with a third expected to sign before the end of next week. The ‘Whites’ need to improve in a few important areas, the most obvious of which is their weak defense and the addition of some attacking possibilities.

Nobody on the outside understands what happened last season or who was to blame. The board refused to support Marcelo Bielsa, and the Argentinian did not want any more players brought in, according to the two conflicting claims. Bielsa’s preference for working with a small squad was well established, but with injuries decimating the club and Leeds suffering a string of poor defeats, things turned sour for the man who had brought Leeds back into the Premier League.

Leeds’ Targets

As previously reported, Leeds United are in talks to sign Bayern Munich’s Marc Roca. The Spaniard is available for £10 million this summer after rarely playing for the German team the previous two seasons. Since joining the Bundesliga champions in 2020, the defensive midfielder has only registered 24 outings, far fewer than his final two years at Espanyol, where he was a mainstay in the midfield of the Catalan side.

Representatives from the ‘Whites’ were recently in New York, and a mystery target was mentioned alongside Valentín Castellanos. After a photo of Victor Orta and Angus Kinnear in the United States surfaced, links between Leeds United and New York City FC forward from Argentina have been unrelenting. The ‘Whites’ representatives were photographed in a restaurant near Yankee Stadium, with reports linking the two events as Castellanos seeks a new team.

However, one important component of those ties appears to have been overlooked. Orta and Kinnear were in America not merely to talk a deal for Castellanos, but are there to look at another American-based talent. Jesse Marsch, who spent three years coaching the New York Red Bulls, has a great understanding of Major League Soccer, and he was last seen in the United States at a San Francisco 49ers practice earlier in the week. Marsch and the 49ers will both see the league as full of low-cost but also high-potential talent. Despite the report, no definite links to this “mystery man” have been established, but unofficially, Leeds are looking into three possible MLS options.

Kai Wagner

The left-back defender has been linked with a move to Elland Road in the past and would give Junior Firpo some stiff competition. The 25-year-old has started all 14 games for the Philadelphia Union this season, as part of the division’s joint-best defense; his two assists also indicate a strong offensive intent.

Djordje Mihailovic

The offensive midfielder was apparently a target for Leeds when the name Brenden Aaronson initially surfaced, but he has since disappeared from ‘Whites’ fans’ minds. His Montréal team is currently in third place in the division, thanks largely to the 23-year-old’s performances, which include seven goals and three assists in 14 games. With such figures, the USA international of Serbian origin has 12 goals and 18 assists in 53 appearances for his club, numbers that have piqued the interest of several clubs as he is looking to exit the MLS.

Cade Cowell

Cade Cowell of the San Jose Earthquakes is a bit of a gamble on this list, but he might be a long-term project and intriguing addition to the under-23s at the age of 18. In 14 appearances for the Earthquakes, he has a goal and three assists, accumulating crucial minutes in senior football at such a young age. The striker’s market value has nearly quadrupled in less than a year, from £2.25 million in July 2021 to £4.5 million now, and it will only climb further if Leeds can sign him early.

Leeds Fans Can Start Rubbing Their Hands Together

Leeds fans are understandably ecstatic (sudden shift of mood, right?), and if this trend continues during the summer, we do not expect many fans to demand boardroom changes. It will be intriguing to watch what happens when the 49ers Enterprises complete their full control of the team and whether Orta and his team are retained. For the time being, Leeds must stick to what has worked while learning from their mistakes, which they appear to have done already, which is good news.

The club is attempting to avoid a repeat of that situation by securing its top targets as fast as possible in order to offer Marsch the best chance of improving on last season’s league place and no longer be positioned as outsiders in most Premier League matches on betting sites in Moldova. The value of remaining in the top flight is enormous, not only in terms of finances but also in terms of retaining key players. So, Leeds fans have every right to hope the board has learned from their mistakes this time around.