Leeds deal for Weston McKennie would collapse with relegation
Leeds United’s permanent move for loanee Weston McKennie would collapse if they were to suffer relegation from the Premier League, Football Insider report.
The Lowdown: Loan with an option to buy
McKennie, as we know, made the move to Elland Road from Juventus during the January window when Jesse Marsch was still in charge as one of three first-team additions alongside Max Wober and Georginio Rutter.
The 24-year-old arrived in Yorkshire on loan with an option to buy for around £30m in the summer. He has gone on to make eight appearances for the Whites but dropped to the bench under Javi Gracia in last weekend’s 2-2 draw with Brighton in the Premier League.
As per WhoScored, McKennie has averaged a match rating of 6.47/10 for Leeds, their 16th-best performer. He has come in for praise during his short stay at the club, though, with Phil Hay admitting he was ‘impressed with McKennie’s movement and interplay’ midway through an FA Cup meeting with Fulham last month, whereas Adam Pope described the midfielder as ‘excellent’ at half-time.
The Latest: Transfer update
FI reporter Pete O’Rourke provided an update on McKennie’s long-term future in the last 48 hours.
He’s heard ‘that it would be financially impossible to keep him and maintain his wages if the club was demoted to the Championship’. Leeds are ‘big admirers’ of the player and would reportedly trigger the clause if they remain in the top flight.
The Verdict: A worry
Knowing that McKennie’s move could be in jeopardy is a worry, but it did always seem that relegation would throw a spanner in the works du to the vast finances involved in making a move permanent.
You’d expect that he has a big part to play under Gracia between now and the end of the season, though, so he could help Leeds stay up which would result in him becoming a full-time squad member at Elland Road.
Fellow countryman Tyler Adams is now out injured with a hamstring problem, and with Adam Forshaw also still out, McKennie and Marc Roca are the only senior central midfield options available to Gracia.
You’d expect that the pair will be relied on heavily over the coming months, starting with this afternoon’s trip to Wolves, and should Adams’ injury be worse than first feared after seeing specialists in recent days, McKennie and Roca may have a crucial role to play to secure the club’s top-flight status.