Leeds United face £190 million reality as Everton could land double transfer boost

Wilfried Gnonto of Leeds United is consoled by Daniel Farke, Manager of Leeds United, after defeat to Southampton during the Sky Bet Championship Play Final match between Leeds United and Southampton at Wembley Stadium on May 26, 2024 in London, England. (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)Wilfried Gnonto of Leeds United is consoled by Daniel Farke, Manager of Leeds United, after defeat to Southampton during the Sky Bet Championship Play Final match between Leeds United and Southampton at Wembley Stadium on May 26, 2024 in London, England. (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)
Wilfried Gnonto of Leeds United is consoled by Daniel Farke, Manager of Leeds United, after defeat to Southampton during the Sky Bet Championship Play Final match between Leeds United and Southampton at Wembley Stadium on May 26, 2024 in London, England. (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images) | Getty Images
Everton will hold talks over Jack Harrison’s future but could reignite interest in another Leeds United player.

Leeds United failed to earn an immediate promotion back to the Premier League after they suffered play-off final heartbreak.

The Whites suffered a 1-0 loss to Southampton at Wembley - courtesy of Adam Armstrong’s 24th-minute strike - which means they are consigned to a second season in the Championship. The Elland Road club were favourites to go up at the beginning of the campaign yet they have fallen short and face another year outside of the top flight.

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And Leeds’ failure to return to the Premier League means that they could face a challenging summer financially. According to financial expert Kieran Maguire, the Yorkshire outfit have a £190 million black hole in their balance sheet that must be addressed. Maguire, a lecturer at the University of Liverpool wrote on X (formerly Twitter): “Outstanding transfer fee creditors of £190m mean that Leeds will have to pay for old player acquisitions before they can spend this summer.”

Maguire has stated that he expects Leeds’ owners 49ers Enterprises to inject cash into the club and they are not at risk of breaching financial rules. But it is a precarious position for the Whites to be in. Their most recent accounts submitted for 202-23 revealed that their wage bill for playing staff was £146 million and posted an operating loss of £106 million.

As a result, it means that Leeds may have to cut their cloth accordingly in the summer transfer window - and Everton could be boosted.

The Toffees have already confirmed that they are set to hold further discussions with the Elland Road hierarchy over the future of Jack Harrison. The winger spent the season on loan at Goodison Park and was a regular, recording four goals and three assists in 35 appearances.

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Everton boss Sean Dyche said on Harrison: “He has done very well. His tactical understanding is excellent, in two roles really, wide or in the number-10 spot. His work ethic is excellent, too. I still think there is more with his talent because he is very talented - we see it in training and I have spoken to him about unlocking that. Over the season I think he has done very well for us and been a consistent performer.

“We will wait and see [if Everton can sign Harrison]. The first thing was making sure we were safe, then once we were safe we could re-evaluate the internal truth with the financial side of what we can do, so that will be an ongoing process.”

Meanwhile, if Leeds have to sell then Willy Gnonto is another who Everton could reignite interest in. The Toffees were keen to sign the Italy international last summer and had bids rejected.

Gnonto handed in a transfer request to try to force through a move to Goodison and made himself unavailable for a period - but it proved fruitless in the end. The 20-year-old registered nine goals and three assists in 44 appearances for Leeds throughout the campaign.

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Much will depend on Everton’s own financial situation, however. Dyche conceded his transfer business will be like ‘juggling sand’ while director of football Kevin Thelwell confessed that player sales are required to help balance the books. The Blues are in need of wide players, though, with Dwight McNeil the only current senior option under contract.

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