Leeds United have come under fire this summer for lack of activity in the transfer market and have only won three new faces for the first team.
The Whites made seven first-team signings last summer, but Kristoffer Klaesson, Junior Firpo and Jack Harrison are the only three senior-team recruits this season.
Control intensified after the 5-1 humiliation at Old Trafford last week and the criticism led to a reaction from CEO Angus Kinnear, who defended the club’s approach to the window in his program notes ahead of the Everton draw.
He revealed that the Whites “vigorously opposed” interest in their £ 100million players, despite not mentioning the assets that attracted admirers.
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While Leeds doesn’t have a tremendous squad strength, retaining key figures has ensured that their strongest starting XI are talented enough to compete with any Premier League counterpart.
It’s also important to keep in mind that the Whites have only been in the Premier League for a little over a year and few invest as much as Leeds did last summer after being promoted from the championship.
There are of course areas where the squad needs to be strengthened and the Manchester United loss showed that midfielder Kalvin Phillips has no natural cover.
However, the debate over the need for a substitute holds a cruel irony, as the means to recruit someone suitable for Phillips would likely only be provided through the sale of the England international.
There’s also the problem that Phillips plays a unique role for Leeds, and the fact that a stand-in would be hard to find and even harder to convince to play second fiddle.
In an ideal world, Leeds would emulate last summer’s heavy investments and rush to Europe to quickly re-establish itself among the English elite.
However, at a time when the richest of the Premier League talents can stand out relatively easily from clubs further down the table, Leeds should be admired for holding onto the likes of Phillips and Raphinha, who are most likely to have caught England’s giants.
The debate over the club’s summer window activities will continue but credit must be given where credit is due and Leeds deserves it for its defiant stance towards key figures.