The first press conference at Elland Road for new coach Thomas Christiansen went about as expected. Everyone said all the right things, and new Director of Football Victor Orta answered a few questions. One of the questions was something that had been on the minds of most Leeds United fans since the seasoned ended: Would Chris Wood still be a Leeds player next season? And because everyone at Leeds is used to being lied to about the potential sale of star players, everyone freaked out by Orta’s answer. The Yorkshire Evening Post quotes Victor Orta answering a question about Wood’s status for next year:
At the end we all want the same thing which is promotion back to the Premier League.
Nobody can say 100 per cent what players will do. Chris Wood is really happy with the new manager and really happy with the club. It is the best situation for Chris Wood to stay at this club
Nothing ominous in that statement, right? Orta said something that is absolutely the truth, and while he didn’t promise that Wood would be playing at Elland Road, he went about as far as anyone in the business will go in confirming or denying any rumors. Almost every time an owner or a manager come out and say that they “refuse to sell” a player, that player leaves anyway. How many times have Leeds fans heard the team’s owner swear that players won’t be sold, only to see them sold literally weeks later.
Leeds United: Lewis Cook not for sale, insists Evans https://t.co/HnsLi4gS30 #lufc #mot— Ryan (@LeedsUtdRyan) January 31, 2016
#lufc Blogs ~ BREAKING: Lewis Cook being sold to Bournemouth https://t.co/t1ZZmAy1ku— Krystal Betts (@LeedsWag) July 7, 2016
So of course, articles are already appearing claiming that Orta “failed to give a clear answer” or that “Victor Orta has revealed that he cannot guarantee players such as Chris Wood will be at the club next season” as if the word “guarantee” means anything in football.
People on Twitter have been freaking out as well, but that’s what you’d expect.
Have to say that @LUFC presser was hugely underwhelming. Orta shifty, Kinnear nervous, Andrea missing. Cheap signings. "Hope" Wood stays.— Kildaregaa365 (@kildaregaa365) June 19, 2017
Why is Orta not 100% Wood will stay. He is under contract— Matt Greenwood (@MattistutaG) June 19, 2017
Don’t believe the hype.
Chris Wood isn’t for sale. If he does go, it will be because Wood wants out, not because the new owner wants to cash in. Orta’s isn’t giving an unclear answer or failing to guarantee that Wood will stay at the club, he’s saying exactly what he knows, that Wood wants to keep playing at Leeds, as far as he knows, but that no one can predict the future.
The new ownership of Radrizzani has given the fans no reason to freak out. New ownership at the club has to earn the trust of the fans, given the disastrous previous owners, but give the new board time. He’s committed to keeping youth at the club. He’s planning on buying back Elland Road. He hired Ivan Bravo because of his experience running academies and finding young talent. Don’t let a single sentence in a press conference determine if it’s time to freak out. A ball hasn’t even been kicked yet. Training for the new season hasn’t even started yet, and we’ve only been told of the opening fixture of the League Cup. It is not time to panic yet.