As Leeds United look to replace Chris Wood in the dying days of the summer transfer window, it’s important to remember the strategy that Victor Orta and the board have used in recruitment so far this summer. They have searched all over Europe for players that weren’t necessarily household names in England, but were good players and available at a fraction of the price that English players are going for these days. Even replacing such an important player as Chris Wood isn’t necessarily going to take a different philosophy as the club has already shown this season.
It’s also important to remember that while the English press push out stories about players returning, most of the deals have been played close to the vest with almost no leaks ahead of time coming from the national papers. Remember when Jonny Howson was headed back to Leeds? Or when David Stockdale was headed to Leeds to be with his family? Vurnon Anita, who signed on a free from Newcastle, was one of the few domestic players to be signed, and those rumors started literally hours before he was revealed at the kit presentation.
Call this a hunch, but I think that at least one replacement at the forward position will be from La Liga. Orta has links to clubs such as Sevilla and Elche CF, and the club has signed a number of U23 players for the Leeds Academy from such clubs as Barcelona, Real Madrid, and Deportivo La Coruña. Even one of the bigger “domestic” U23 signatures, Liverpool’s Madger Gomes, originally came from Villarreal. Combined with the agreement with Cultural Leonesa in the Segunda Division in Spain, the club has a lot of ties to Spain right now.
So don’t be shocked when Leeds fans have to hit Google to find out who the player is that Leeds have just signed or that the fee is considerable less than the reported £15 million price that Burnley paid for Wood. As Samu Saiz and Gianni Alioski have already proven, plenty of good players are available overseas for much smaller transfer fees than overpriced mediocre English and England-based players currently cost.