Leeds United are compiling transfer shortlists featuring Premier League talents and Championship options, according to The Athletic.
The prospect of promotion into the top-flight has left Director of Football Victor Orta in a position where he must plan for both potential eventualities: a season in the Premier League or another campaign trying to secure a place in the highest division of English football.
United are aware that some potential signings would depend on head coach Marcelo Bielsa orchestrating a successful bid for a Premier League berth this term, having been forced to look elsewhere last summer when our efforts came to an end in the Play-Offs.
Chelsea full-back Reece James is noted as a player to have been discussed at Elland Road last summer should the 2019/20 campaign have featured top-flight football, but defeat to Derby County in the Play-Off Semi-Finals meant he was taken off the board.
The club are also in a position where some deals are already guaranteed for this summer, with our loan agreement with Wolverhampton Wanderers for Helder Costa including an obligation to buy in the region of £15million regardless of promotion.
Our loan deal with RB Leipzig for striker Jean-Kevin Augustin also includes an obligation to buy for around £17m, though is dependent on a place in the Premier League meaning failure to go up would likely see the Frenchman leave West Yorkshire.
We also have options to buy Manchester City winger Jack Harrison and FC Lorient goalkeeper Illan Meslier at the end of their season-long loan deals for £8m and around £5m respectively, meaning a potential outlay of close to £45m if all four deals are made.
Where does Orta need to focus this summer?
Promotion into the Premier League should create more funds for further signings to bolster Bielsa’s relatively thin squad, though, with Aston Villa and Fulham prime examples of clubs splashing their newfound cash.
The Cottagers went crazy in the transfer market following their success in the 2018 Play-Off Final, with more than £100m spent in the summer alone trying to build a squad that would stay afloat in the top-flight.
Their spending spree failed to secure their place in the Premier League for another season, and found themselves back in the Championship within a year.
Orta could look more towards the likes of Bournemouth than Fulham and Villa this summer, though, as the Cherries spent around £50m in their first season in the Premier League and have remained in the top-flight since their 2014/15 Championship title success.
Spending money wisely and on the right players is far more important than signing a plethora of new options – as Fulham, and potentially Aston Villa, know all too well.
In other Leeds United news, Bielsa walking out of Elland Road this summer is expected to spark an exodus in West Yorkshire.