Angus Kinnear has revealed Leeds United rejected a number of offers for some of their key first-team players this summer to the Yorkshire Evening Post.
The managing director had stated that bids had been made for the likes of Luke Ayling, Kalvin Phillips and Pablo Hernandez, which could have fetched the club an extra £35m into the coffers.
However, Kinnear admitted that their priority was to keep some of their main men and fought hard to do so, despite the decision to let players like Kemar Roofe, Bailey Peacock-Farrell and Pontus Jansson all depart.
“Our first priority this window was around who we kept,” he told the Yorkshire Evening Post.
“If you look at the single biggest bids we’ve received for players, we’ve received over £35m worth of bids.
“If you take the biggest bid for Kalvin, Adam Forshaw, Luke, Pablo, there’s £35m we’ve turned down.”
In what could have already been considered a threadbare squad in certain areas of the pitch, losing the likes of Phillips, Hernandez and Ayling could have been disastrous for Marcelo Bielsa’s side and their hopes of challenging for promotion this season.
If losing last year’s top goalscorer, one of the club’s best defenders (as per stats collected by WhoScored) and a reasonably capable back-up ‘keeper was not bad enough, having the aforementioned trio leave as well would have been catastrophic for the Whites.
Hernandez proved how crucial he was for Leeds in their match against Bristol City last weekend when he scored one goal and provided an assist to get the club’s campaign started in perfect fashion (Sky Sports). It is hardly a surprise to hear that bids came in for him though, as he managed to net 12 goals and provide a further 12 assists in his 41 appearances last season (Transfermarkt) and was named the club’s Player of the Year.
Phillips was just important as Hernandez last season with his performances for Bielsa’s side as well, as he was ranked top for tackles (2.6) and made 1.3 interceptions as he helped protect the backline from a number of attacks, but it could be said that he was more useful further forward.
The 23-year-old was one of the most active in the side when spraying the ball around the pitch, as he averaged 58.5 passes per match with an 82.1% pass success rate (per WhoScored). He was also effective when creating chances as he created 0.6 key passes per game, whilst chipping in with three assists and one goal in his 44 appearances.
According to the data collected by WhoScored, Ayling was also one of their best defensive stars last season as they fell just short in their quest for Premier League football. The right-back managed to average an impressive 2.2 tackles per game and 1.2 interceptions in the 40 matches that he was selected to play in.
Sure, receiving £35m for the trio would have been nice for the coffers, but Leeds are not in the position whereby they could afford to let more of their best players leave this summer having already lost Roofe and Jansson.
Hernandez, Ayling and Phillips have all shown how important they are to the Elland Road outfit and, without them, their chances of obtaining top-flight football would have taken a significant dent – and that would have cost them even more than the £35m they could have allegedly received for the trio.
Leeds fans, was Kinnear right to have turned down the opportunity to cash in on the aforementioned trio? Let us know your thoughts by sharing them below!
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