Leeds United are a “breath of fresh air” with their risky transfer and playing plan – but tie-ups like the San Francisco 49ers deal are paying off.
That is according to finance expert and new Football Insider columnist Kieran Maguire, who gave his view in exclusive conversation with correspondent Adam Williams as Leeds enter the January transfer window.
So far, the newly-promoted side have been expansive in both their football and their dealings in the market.
They spent just shy of £100m in summer, with Rodrigo, Diego Llorente, Raphinha, Helder Costa and Robin Koch all arriving for significant fees and all having an immediate impact on the first-team.
Spending big is a risky strategy, says Maguire, but one that will pay dividends come the end of the season.
“The right balance is getting a squad that can keep you from relegation, so you have to work out where you need to strengthen,” he told Football Insider.
“Then, it’s a case of where is the money going to come from. If you try to self-finance, you end up with the Burnley model, which is recruiting in a particular field.
“So they aim for players who are experienced in the bottom end of the Premier League, or top end of the Championship. They are the best-run club in the Premier League financially.
“If the owner has ambitions, like Leeds, then they’ve got to be prepared to put the money in or find partners who are willing to put the money in as well. Leeds have done that by making deals with the likes of San Francisco 49ers. Radrizzani has been open about being willing to take on external investment.
“As we’ve seen with the budget, it’s precarious. Haller, Wesley, Joelinton are all examples of spending large amounts of money and getting next to nothing in return. So Leeds’ strategy always comes with a degree of risk.
“But I think they’ve got the balance right this season. They’ve clearly got a particular style of play, they’ve recruited players into that style and they’re a breath of fresh air.”
Leeds currently sit in 12th place after 17 games of their first top-flight campaign in 16 years.
But their comfortable league position does not reflect the white-knuckle nature of their campaign so far — there have been 63 goals in Leeds games so far this season, an average of 3.7 per match.