SPORTS

Leeds transfers, Archie Gray and Daniel Farke future: Chairman Paraag Marathe

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Leeds chairman Paraag Marathe sat down with Sky Sports to discuss a range of subjects from Daniel Farke’s future, the likelihood of keeping Archie Gray and what business the club may do this summer…

There has been speculation about Daniel Farke’s future. Can you clarify that he will be staying?

Daniel has been fantastic, and I’m excited about working with him again next season. We had a long-term plan and commitment, and we have a lot of work to do to see our plan through. He has been tremendous with a steady hand, the right temperament. If you think about the circumstances he came into, he did a tremendous job. I’m excited about getting back at it with him as my partner and our leadership team. I feel confident about this season because we have at least a four or five-week start on what we had last year.

Will key players have to be sold this summer?

We are well capitalised from an investment standpoint. We have the funds that we need to do what we need to do. The reality of being in the Championship is that Profitability and Sustainability (P&S) plays a role. We also inherited a challenging situation, so naturally there are going to be some trade-offs. But also, we have a really good team, and it is not just about outs, but ins. We’re looking at scouting possibilities and players that we can bring in. We will have to make some trade-offs because of P&S but we have the investment commitment to do what we need to do.

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Daniel Farke explains his disappointment at his Leeds side’s loss in the Championship play-off final against Southampton.

Leeds Recorded 90 Points Without Going Up
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Leeds recorded 90 points without going up

So, there will be money to spend to bring players in?

That’s right.

Will Archie Gray still be a Leeds United player when the transfer window closes?

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Archie Gray’s strike deflects off Leicester defender Wout Faes to put Leeds ahead at Elland Road.

It’s a little too early to answer specific questions. I can’t talk on specific players right now. If I can paint the big picture for you, there are certain things we need to do and we will make sure we are fully compliant with P&S as we always have been, and there are certain trade-offs that we have to make. We will get to the drawing board and figure out which moves we have to make to make sure we are compliant. It is too early to say, obviously Archie is a tremendous player, as all the players who have put so much effort in for us, but every season brings change. I can’t yet comment on it, but we’ll see what happens.

What happens with those players that are contracted to the club, like Jack Harrison, Max Wober, Marc Roca, Brenden Aaronson, Diego Llorente and Rasmus Kristiensen?

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Highlights from Wembley as Southampton beat Leeds United 1-0 to return to the Premier League.

We have to sit down as a leadership team with Daniel to see how we manage that. Fortunately, we don’t have as many of those situations as we had last year. We’re not in a race against time as we were last year. At this point last year, we were 12 days away from finalising our purchase of the club. We have a lot more time to think about it. The chemistry of the squad is also important, which players fit us and what we want to look like, and which don’t. And that will be taken into account along with some of the P&S complications.

What about the West Stand development and improvements at Elland Road – when will that begin now that promotion hasn’t been achieved?

We have already earmarked a certain amount of investment to make some improvements at Elland Road. It might not be the whole new shiny toy, but we are making improvements.

The bigger greater development, we are still on the path and the timeline to doing that. It has been reported that nothing will happen until we get to the Premier League. But there’s still work to be done that we’re doing anyway. Work that needs to be done before you put a shovel in the ground. Not just work, but a significant investment. Whether we were in the Premier League or Championship, that money is committed and we’re continuing down that path. If you ask me this question in a year it may be a bit more complicated because at that point, we may be ready with a shovel, but everything right now is green lit, as it would have been in any case.

Leeds Suffered Play-Off Heartbreak Again
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Leeds suffered play-off heartbreak again

The accounts would suggest there’s about £190m in transfer instalments that need to be paid – can you clarify that number for us and break down how and when it needs to be paid off?

The outgoing transfer payments were already contemplated as we went about our transaction of the club last summer. We inherited a credit card bill that we knew we had to take care of. We made sure we had the investment we needed up front to make sure we were covered on that and being able to manage through that properly.

What is not in those numbers that were reported was some of the incoming payments that we also have, for example our two January sales in Tyler Adams and Luis Sinisterra. There are some inbound transfer payments coming from that. The net is already a bit lower than has been reported. We have what we need to be competitive, and we’ll shape the squad accordingly. We’ll need to have some outbounds because of P&S but we’ll also have some inbounds. We have what we need to compete among the best.

In terms of P&S, with the financial year ending in a month, are you under pressure to get sales, outbound deals done quickly?

Pressure is probably the wrong word, are we going to do what we need to do to make sure we are compliant? Absolutely.

Everything that we have to do we have been contemplating for almost a year and recognising some of the trade-offs that we have to make and when we have to make them.

We are prepared to make the moves we have to make.

How critical is it to get promotion next year?

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Troy Deeney says there were Leeds players who didn’t want to take responsibility in key moments during their 1-0 defeat to Southampton.

Every year is critical. This season is critical but I’m more confident because we have more time to execute our plan and to make sure our squad looks exactly like it needs to look. It’s also critical because Leeds United deserves to be in the Premier League. The Premier League needs Leeds United in it – it just belongs. The league is better with us in it and that is where we’re going to go. It’s critical because it is what it is supposed to look like.