By Alex Stevens
Steve Evans has claimed Leeds need up to six new players in the summer who are equal to or better than the three signings he has made at the club.
Evans took the helm last October and the Yorkshire giants have subsequently signed Toumani Diagouraga permanently and Liam Bridcutt and Mustapha Carayol on loan deals.
The Leeds manager says the club need to sign quality players in the summer transfer window to mount a serious promotion charge next term.
Leeds are 12th in the Championship with one match of their league campaign remaining following Saturday’s 2-1 defeat at home to already relegated Charlton.
“We lost a good player in Sam Byram (in January) who had to be sold but we’ve brought in three players and Liam Bridcutt’s made a big difference,” Evans told the Yorkshire Evening Post. “So has Toumani and when he came off the bench (against Charlton), I was thinking ‘I wish I’d started you.’ He was outstanding.
“Mustapha’s been beset by a couple of hamstring injuries but those three players have made us better. We need five or six more equal to that level this summer – if not better than that level. We’re a little bit away from where we need to be.”
Carayol, who moved to Leeds from Boro in January, has made only six league starts and was missing from Evans’ squad on Saturday with a hamstring injury.
The winger’s impact has been less telling than Bridcutt’s and Leeds are not expected to pursue him again.
Evans held talks with Massimo Cellino last Friday about the squad and his own future at the club, and hinted that the Italian owner is ready to sanction a major transfer splurge to overhaul a squad that has fallen short of the top clubs in the division.
“There’s no point in us signing any more ‘if, buts or maybe’ players,” Evans told the Yorkshire Evening Post. “I’ve always maintained that if you don’t get your recruitment right you don’t challenge for honours.”
Evans spoke with optimism about his position, which has been the subject of such debate in recent times with just weeks remaining on his Leeds contract.
In spite of the defeat to Charlton, the 53-year-old has comfortably avoided relegation and taken Leeds into the top half of the Championship table.
Evans expects his position to be sorted before Leeds’ final game of the season against Preston next Saturday.
Evans has an increasingly strong hand in negotiations as he is drawing interest from elsewhere, with Peterborough joining Nottingham Forest in being strongly linked with the Leeds manager.
In other Leeds news, Evans has admitted he has changed his mind about one Whites outcast.