Maguire: Leeds have edged ahead of PL rivals in transfer race as agents sounded out

Leeds United have a head start over Premier League rivals in the race to strengthen their squad in the summer with top-flight survival now a formality.

That is according to finance guru and new Football Insider columnist Kieran Maguire, speaking exclusively after Leeds moved into the top half of the table after victory over Cyrstal Palace on Monday.

Bielsa’s side now have 32 points from 22 games in their first Premier League campaign since 2004.

Last season, 35 points was enough to ensure top-flight survival and Leeds could reach that total with victory over 11th place Arsenal on Sunday.

Maguire says that Andrea Radrizzani and the Leeds executive branch will be reevaluating this summer’s transfer budget as a result.

He told Football Insider correspondent Adam Williams: “It will allow them to start making tentative enquiries with regards to player availability. Every club who is, for want of a better phrase, part of the ‘other 14’ has two budgets going forwards.

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“One assuming they retain their position in the Premier League and another for if they are relegated. I think they can now scrap that second budget.

“We all focus on transfers in the summer but wheels will be in motion about this time of year. Leeds will be sounding out agents, talking to players and their representatives, asking if they’d be interested in a move to the Premier League. This is all part of the football industry.

“Leeds are now in a position that if their name gets mentioned to a player or an agent, they’ll be saying ‘Well, I know I’d be playing in the Premier League next season.’

“That’s got to move Leeds ahead in the taxi rank.

“It’s not the same as saying a deal is going to be concluded but it’s a bit like being on a dating website, you look at the options and mentally before you actually meet them you start to assess whether some have more to offer than others.”

Leeds spent big last summer after their long-heralded promotion from the second-tier.

Rodrigo, Diego Llorente, Raphinha, Helder Costa, Robin Koch, Illan Meslier and Joe Gelhardt all arrived for a combined total of £96million, while Jack Harrison also arrived for a third successive loan spell.

In other news, a top pundit thought Leeds United star Raphinha was “rubbish” at the outset of the season.