Leeds would be killing promotion charge if they cash in on brilliant mainstay in January
By Editor Wayne Veysey
Pound for pound, Charlie Taylor is Leeds’ best player. He is also probably the most irreplaceable one in the team.
Chris Wood’s goals and ability to provide a focal point of the attack have made him indispensable, while Pontus Jansson’s never-say-die commitment and precision tackling also make a compelling argument about his influence.
But it is Taylor who is attracting widespread interest from multiple Premier League clubs willing to pay big money to entice him to the top flight in the January window.
It is also Taylor who has no senior or proper back-up in the Leeds squad. His deputy Tyler Denton has made one first-team appearance.
The 23-year-old’s situation is a hot debating point among supporters. Out of contract next summer and with talks over an extension long since dead in the water, January offers the club the last chance to extract a £5million-plus fee for the left-back.
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However, his status as a product of the prolific Leeds academy means the club can command a fee for developing him next summer, and Elland Road chiefs will be only too aware that a tribunal ordered Liverpool to pay Burnley £8million for Danny Ings after he moved to Anfield when his contract had expired.
With Leeds suddenly having the opportunity to shoot for the stars, they must be strong and maintain the hardline stance adopted by Massimo Cellino last summer.
The owner dismissed the player’s transfer request and promised to keep him until next summer regardless of his contractual position. That stance should be just as strong now.
Taylor’s form was woolly at the start of the campaign but he is now exerting a major influence in the performances of a team that had won five out of six Championship matches and have risen from nowhere to fourth in the table. In the second tier, he is a brilliant player.
He has played every minute of the club’s 19 league fixtures this season is crucial to Garry Monk’s side remaining within touching distance of the play-offs.
An excessive bid from a desperate Premier League club might muddy the waters next month, but it is hard to avoid the conclusion that Leeds would be killing their promotion charge if they cashed in on Taylor.