Whelan issues '£30m' Leeds transfer claim after what I've heard from Bielsa
Noel Whelan has claimed Victor Orta could save Leeds United “£30million” with his impressive record of youth recruitment.
Speaking exclusively to Football Insider, the former Leeds striker and club ambassador insisted the Spaniard deserves “massive” credit for sticking to his philosophies at Elland Road.
Speaking at his press conference on Thursday (22 January), Marcelo Bielsa hailed the “growth” of Leeds under Orta, highlighting the focus on recruiting “young” talent with plenty of “potential”.
The Argentine manager singled out Pascal Struijk, Joe Gelhardt and Leo Hjelde as three players signed by Orta who have impressed.
Whelan hailed the director of football for implementing a plan that is starting to come to fruition.
Whelan told Football Insider’s Russell Edge: “I think when you look back now, you can actually see a pattern emerging here.
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“When he came into the club, it wasn’t all about just buying players for the first team straight away. They were looking at the longevity of the club. How can they save money? How can they raise money by bringing through the younger players?
“By having a very successful under-23s and that pathway from under-23s into the first team. I think now you’re actually seeing the bigger picture of what they were doing.
“It’s why they were buying these players from certain clubs abroad and bringing them into Leeds United, for this particular purpose. I think he deserves a massive amount of credit because it’s brave at times.
“You have fans looking and wanting you to buy someone straightaway for the first team. This takes a lot of strength and you’ve got to be brave.
“You’ve got to stick to your belief of what you’re trying to do with the club. Not just first team but under-23s for the first team.
“It does take two or three years to come come to fruition. There’s a pathway and you need these young players. They are sometimes what you need at the club rather than going out and spending £30million.”
Struijk has played 15 times this season, while Gelhardt has nine appearances under his belt.
However, goalkeeper Illan Meslier, 21, has made more appearances than anyone for Leeds this term.