Leeds have Chelsea-style recruitment plans - report
By Richard Parkes
Leeds United have Chelsea-style plans to invest in the cream of global youth to create a first-team gold mine for the future as well as an alternative revenue stream, according to a report.
Phil Hay, writing in a column for the Yorkshire Evening Post analysing United’s January window activity, highlighted the major recruitment drive at academy level since Andrea Radrizzani took sole control of the club last May as indicative of a plan that hints at more than just reinforcing the youth ranks.
Hay is convinced that Leeds are pursuing a similar path to Premier League giants Chelsea, who, as well as investing significantly in the senior side also plough vast resources into strengthening the youth team, many of whom barely feature for the first team but go on to make a profit for the club and have successful careers elsewhere.
The Elland Road club signed six permanent additions to Carlos Corberan’s Under-23 squad in the winter window, adding the deadline day capture of Jordan Stevens to the previous signings of striker duo Oliver Sarkic and Sam Dalby, centre-back pair Aapo Halme and Pascal Struijk, as well as goalkeeper Kamal Miazek.
“To the naked eye, Leeds are either visualising a first-team gold mine for the future, following Chelsea’s path in creating an alternative revenue stream or both,” Hay wrote in the YEP. “One way or another, in the field of academy recruitment, the club have begun a long game. Youth development has been part of the fabric at Leeds for years and investment in it was undeniably overdue, in the eyes of anyone who worked at Thorp Arch.”
Chelsea have spent multi millions on buying and training the cream of global talent in recent years but few have gone on to be anything other than a footnote at first-team level.
Josh McEachran, Dominic Solanke, Gael Kakuta, Izzy Brown and Nathan Ake are among those who had been successful at youth team level but left the club with very few senior appearances to their name.
Football Insider broke the news a fortnight agi that United were in advanced talks to sign Adam Forshaw from Middlesbrough before any other media, and 48 hours before the transfer was announced.
Football Insider also revealed first that Leeds had agreed a deal to sign striker Sam Dalby from Leyton Orient, with the player then unveiled on Tuesday of last week, and that they were in advanced talks to sign Jordan Stevens on deadline day.
In other Leeds United transfer news, it can be revealed that a centre-forward who has player for the team this season has had his contract terminated.