Get all your news in one place.
100’s of premium titles.
One app.
Start reading
Leeds Live
Leeds Live
Beren Cross

Leeds United squad shakedown could see 15 realistic transfers out and big calls on 2020 title heroes


After the mystery behind signing an unheralded French teenager, the subsequent rise after Kiko Casilla’s fall, the next-big-thing hype and three years of Premier League thrills and spills, the time feels right for Illan Meslier to move on. The volume of elite football behind the 23-year-old goalkeeper would suggest he should become one of the best on the continent as he approaches his peak years.

Is there still the patience at Elland Road for Meslier to continue those ups and downs with Leeds United, however? Sam Allardyce’s departure would give Meslier a fresh start with the next head coach, but the stopper’s confidence could do with a fresh environment.

United could expect to recoup a decent fee still too. We will see in the coming days what Leeds plan to do with the out-of-contract Joel Robles. The club’s retained list should be published next week.

READ MORE: Brenden Aaronson speaks out on Leeds United transfer after disappointing debut campaign

Even if it was only as a back-up, the 32-year-old has shown enough to justify a new deal. Kristoffer Klaesson still has two years to run on his contract, but he needs more frontline action before colours can be pinned to his mast.


Right-back, as it was last summer, is shaping up to be one of the bigger dilemmas for the next director of football and head coach. Cody Drameh is another year older with another four months of impressive Championship football behind him.

Meanwhile, Luke Ayling and Rasmus Kristensen are heading into the summer off the back of, at best, inconsistent seasons. Neither inspired confidence for long enough spells to believe they should be the outright first choice in that position when August arrives.

Drameh has suitors and just one year left on his Leeds deal. They really do have to sell him this summer, if they want to fetch any kind of fee, or prove to him he is going to play and thus convince him to sign a new deal.

The 21-year-old’s form with Cardiff City and Luton Town makes him an obvious candidate for at least appearing regularly from the bench, if not becoming United’s outright first choice. Ayling has the kind of experience, charisma and proven second-tier ability to stick around too.

For me, Rasmus Kristensen can either be sold or used as a back-up in central defence. On the left side, Junior Firpo has failed to convince for any sustained period of time and should be a candidate for sale.

It does mean Leeds need a first-choice, dependable, natural left-back this summer. Again.


With one year left on his deal and Germany ignoring him in the top flight, Robin Koch is unlikely to see his Euro 2024 prospects improve in the Championship. Leeds should still be able to fetch an eight-figure fee for him.

Liam Cooper’s already made it clear he still has unfinished business and could be an asset with the armband at a lower level. Max Wober would be a force in the Championship and has to be retained.

Pascal Struijk could find his feet again in the second tier, but it has been some time since he really inspired confidence. Add Leo Hjelde to Cooper and Wober and it’s hard to see a reason why Leeds should say no to decent offers for the Dutch left-footer.

Like Drameh, Charlie Cresswell showed enough in the second tier last season to be retained and played regularly. Diego Llorente should be sold.


Adam Forshaw keeps clinging on. United have the option to extend his contract by 12 months and we will soon discover what they want to do with the publication of their retained list.

Alternatively, they may look to negotiate new terms with Forshaw. Unfortunately, as competent as he can be when fit, injuries do keep bothering the 31-year-old. Can the Whites really rely on him to be the lynchpin in a promotion tilt playing more than 40 league games next term?

A pay-as-you-play deal could be the best fit, if he’s happy to sign that, of course. Marc Roca did not impress for any great length of time last season and can go this summer if the price is right. If a decent offer does not come in, there’s enough there to feel Roca could be a squad player at that level.

Tyler Adams is possibly the one player you would ask Leeds to truly move heaven and earth to keep, but his quality means he is sure to attract good offers this summer. It’s hard to believe he’s playing in the Championship beyond September 1.

Seeing Stuart Dallas back on a pitch is the main objective for the Northern Irishman. The club and player can build from there, but there should be no appetite on any side for him to leave this summer.

Darko Gyabi, Sam Greenwood and Archie Gray will all see United’s relegation as an opportunity for them to play more next season. Allow all three chances and see who takes them. The hope is the next head coach is not afraid to play youth that proves itself.

Jamie Shackleton and Lewis Bate have one year left on their deals. At 23, the former is surely ready for a permanent move if the right option materialises, while the latter may just be worth an extension to allow that potential to flourish in another loan deal.

It seems a stretch to expect Gyabi, Greenwood, Gray and Bate to all get opportunities as youth options on the fringes of the starting XI.

Attacking midfielders

Brenden Aaronson reportedly has a relegation release clause, ensuring clubs can buy him at a snip of his real value. At 22, he has a lot of potential and could thrive at a lower level, while his injury record was impressive too.

Not in the must-be-sold category, but not someone you would be hugely upset about leaving if clubs came asking the question. Crysencio Summerville is another who has the talent to flourish in the second tier.

He may have some interested parties on the continent, but he hardly set the top flight alight. Happy to see him stay and be a mainstay. Could target double figures for goals and assists if he knuckles down.

Jack Harrison may have signed a new contract two months ago, but he is prime real estate for Premier League outfits. As a 26-year-old English winger with 21 goals and 16 assists in the top flight across the past three seasons, Harrison is going to have a lot of suitors this summer.

Sonny Perkins may hope for more opportunities after his Premier League 2 exploits, but a loan into League One may suit his development better. Like Harrison, Luis Sinisterra, despite his fitness issues, will surely attract offers too great for Leeds to reject.

Daniel James is expected to play a part next season and his past Championship form with Swansea City should mean he makes a difference for Leeds. After struggling at Fulham it’s hard to see too many coming in for the Wales international.

Helder Costa and Ian Poveda remain contracted to Leeds, but neither has done anything during their loans away to warrant sticking around next season.


Patrick Bamford has another three years on his Leeds deal, but his struggles across the past two seasons have proved a lightning rod for criticism. The number nine has become a symbol of how the club has stood still through recent transfer windows.

Bamford’s one you feel the next head coach will have a major say on. The striker could go either way, but making him the bona fide first-choice number nine could be misguided.

Rodrigo is one of the more straightforward cases. Like Koch, he has Euro 2024 aspirations and only one year left on his deal. A decent transfer fee and getting his wages off the budget seem the best outcome.

Georginio Rutter does not strike you as the Championship type at first glance, but Leeds cannot give up on him so early in his record-fee contract. If he shows the right attitude and mentality upon the start of pre-season, he needs a consistent go in the team.

Wilfried Gnonto should be kept where possible. The bids for him may go too high to ignore, but the teenager could terrorise the second tier if managed in the right way. You look at the impact of someone like Nathan Tella at Burnley and wonder what Gnonto could do to those defences.

Mateo Joseph and Joe Gelhardt may find themselves fighting for the same opportunities. It could be the former’s turn for a go further afield, while Gelhardt looks to re-establish himself as an understudy.

Tyler Roberts has one year left on his contract and should be sold for the highest fee possible this summer. Injuries continued to dog him at Queens Park Rangers.


Sign up to read this article
Read news from 100’s of titles, curated specifically for you.
Already a member? Sign in here
Related Stories
Top stories on inkl right now
One subscription that gives you access to news from hundreds of sites
Already a member? Sign in here
Our Picks
Fourteen days free
Download the app
One app. One membership.
100+ trusted global sources.