Leeds will storm to promotion if they tie up deal for this key man in January
By Editor Wayne Veysey
During recent years, Leeds supporters have grown wearily used to the words ‘Leeds’ and ‘turmoil’ appearing in the same sentence.
Just when everything was going so swimmingly well, a blast from the past came on Wednesday as the FA went public with its intention to fine and suspend controversial owner Massimo Cellino.
The business tycoon was found guilty of breaching regulations in regards to the transfer of Ross McCormack to Fulham in 2014 and is facing a £250,000 fine and an 18-month suspension.
Cellino responded in typically bullish fashion, insisting he had done nothing wrong and would fight tooth and nail to clear his name.
Nevertheless, the prospect of the Italian being stripped of his day-to-day involvement at the Championship club is very real.
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And the repercussions could be significant given the timing, as Cellino effectively operates as de facto chief executive, director of football and head of recruitment rolled into one.
Not since Nicola Salerno packed his bags in June 2015 have Leeds had a sporting director charged with buying players and negotiating contracts.
That could be about to change, if reports that the Yorkshire giants are close to securing a deal for former Real Madrid strategist Ivan Bravo to be appointed director of football are correct. It is said that a deal is “weeks away” and could be completed by next month.
A well connected football man, who is used to dealing with agents and brokering deals for players, is just what is needed with the January window around the corner.
With Garry Monk and his sidekick Pep Clotet at the helm, Leeds bought well in the summer. Luke Ayling, Liam Bridcutt, Eunan O’Kane and Rob Green were sound purchases, while the club made brilliant use of the loan market to land Pontus Jansson, Kyle Bartley, Hadi Sacko and Pablo Hernandez.
Yet, by Monk’s very admission, the squad is “thin” and needs reinforcing.
With Leeds fourth in the table, flying and promotion suddenly a realistic possibility, strong efforts must be made in January to buy two or three players that will give Monk the opportunity to storm back to the Premier League after 12 years in the wilderness.
Bravo, who is currently working as the director general of the Aspire academy in Qatar, could hold the key.
He can be the link between the boardroom and the dugout, sourcing the players, brokering the deals and providing Monk with the goods to reach the promised land of the top flight.
In other Leeds news, Pontus Jansson has delivered an update on his future and fans will be concerned.