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Marathe admits that PSR is likely to force player sales
Thursday, 30th May 2024 09:16 by Tim Whelan

The 49ers have plenty of cash available to invest in Leeds United, but defeat in the 49th game of the League season means that some key players will be leaving to keep the club with the Profitability and Sustainability (PSR) regulations.

It’s been widely reported that Leeds owe £190m in transfer fees, mostly for players who are no longer ours or who spent last season away on loan. But this figure is from the accounts for the year ending June 2023, and the figure has been reduced since, while £40m came into the club with the sales of Adams and Sinisterra to Bournemouth.

As of now the figure is a mere £116m, and that doesn’t all have to be paid within the next 12 months. Promotion back to the Premier League would have taken care of the arrears, as it would have meant an expected revenue increase of at least £140million. But remaining in the Championship will make life a lot tougher, with reduced parachute payments and the need to keep losses below £61m over each three year period.

However, Paraag Marathe insisted that they have it all under control when he spoke to a group of journalists on Tuesday. “Are we going to do what we need to do to make sure we are compliant? Absolutely but everything we have to do we’ve been contemplating for almost a year now, recognising some of the trade-offs we have to make and when we have to make them. We’re prepared to make the moves we have to make.”

He admitted that some key players are likely to be sold during the close season, but also said that we are in a stronger position than we were 12 months ago to bring in some transfer fees for the players still on our books who have been out on loan. And he also promised that new players will be coming in to help with a fresh push for promotion.

“We have a really good team and it’s not just outs. It’s ins as well, looking at scouting opportunities for us. We’ll have to make some trade-offs because of PSR, but we have the investment commitment to do what we need to do.” Asked if there would be meaningful money available for fresh arrivals before next season, Marathe said: “That’s right.”

The chairman also confirmed that Daniel Farke will remain as our manager, in line with the 49ers ethos of long-term planning. In general they have been impressed with him so far, as he guided the team to 90 points despite the difficult situation he inherited. “Daniel’s been fantastic. I’m excited about working with him again”.

“We set out to do this, we had a long-term plan and a long-term commitment, not just me to him but him to me. He’s been tremendous, with a steady hand and the right temperament. I’m excited about getting back at it with him. I feel confident about this coming season, because we have more time to execute our plan and make sure this year’s squad looks exactly how we want it to look.”

And he also suggested that they are likely to press ahead with plans to develop the stadium. “We’re still very much on the timeline to doing that. It’s been reported that nothing’s going to happen until we get to the Premier League — that’s a little bit of a myth. All of the make-ready work we have to do before shovels in the ground, it really didn’t matter if we were in the Championship or the Premier League”.

“There’s still work being done and significant investment to line up all the things you do before you put a shovel in the ground. We’d be doing that anyway, and we’re continuing down that path.” The expansion of Elland Road will eventually help with PSR, as expenditure on infrastructure can be excluded from the costs, but once the capacity has been extended to 50,000 we will benefit from additional income.

Marathe was asked about Archie Gray in particular, but hinted we are unlikely to sell him, despite reported interest from several big clubs, and confirmed that his contract doesn’t have a release clause. Even though we might have to part with him in the end, we are likely to get a larger transfer fee if we can hang onto him into his 20s rather than selling him now. But inevitably a couple of other young players have been mentioned in the papers since Sunday.

The Daily Telegraph have reported that Chelsea are likely to make a bid for Summerville, in line with their philosophy of hoovering up all the best young talent they can get hold of, even if they have no apparent strategy of how the players might actually operate as a team. The paper says Cree is expected to cost around £30 million, and says that Liverpool and his former club Feyenoord are also possible destinations.

And by Italian publication Calciomercato claims that Willie Gnonto wants to return to Italy now that he has been omitted from their squad for the coming Euros. The paper says we might not get the 20m Euro we quoted last season, and that his former club FC Zurich will be entitled to a share of the profit we get over the price we paid for him two years ago. But it might be best to allow him to go this time, provided he requests a move through the proper channels. Inter and Fiorentina are said to be interested.

So another busy summer of ins and outs is likely, but Farke was still optimistic when he spoke to the Athletic. “We’ll take this as extra motivation to come back stronger. It’ll be difficult to come back stronger because we were there with 90 points during the season – overall a great achievement. But to be there with the perfect outcome, to call yourself a Premier League side, this is something we want.”

“In the background we’ve prepared a lot but there will be a lot of work to do in the upcoming week. We’re prepared for different scenarios but before you press the button, you need to know which league you are in. I’m not sure if everything will be fully ready for pre-season but once the season starts, I think we will be there.”

Let’s hope that despite having to put plans on hold for three weeks thanks to the play-offs, we can assemble a competitive squad by the start of August, and that Farke can match Bielsa’s achievement of promotion in his second season.


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