Transfer insider Phil Hay “fully expects” Leeds to trigger their buy option for Weston McKennie, and thinks the only way that doesn’t happen is if they’re relegated.
The Whites can categorise their winter window as a successful one. They improved at left-back, an area that could have done with a new face, and added a new striker.
On top of that, they added McKennie, who has played regularly for one of Europe’s best sides of late – Juventus.
For a club in the position that Leeds are in, snaring a high-quality player like McKennie amid links to Tottenham and Arsenal is a massive step in the right direction.
McKennie is a goalscoring midfielder, and that he’s American means he’ll gel well with a lot of the squad.
Following the loan signing, which includes an option to buy the midfielder for in the region of £30million, insider Hay believes there’s only one way Leeds don’t make that signing permanent in the summer.
“There’s an option in there for Leeds to take him permanently in the summer; it will cost them around £30m,” he said on the Phil Hay show.
“The intention and the plan would absolutely be to sign him permanently, and I fully expect that to happen unless something strange goes on in the next few months. The one thing that would absolutely avoid that being triggered would be Leeds being relegated.”
The Whites are currently 15th in the Premier League, but only a point ahead of Bournemouth, who occupy the first relegation place.
As such, there’s no guarantee that they will climb to safety come the end of the season. They were embroiled in a relegation scrap last term, and this season could be the same.
However, the additions they’ve made to the squad during January should help them to climb the table. McKennie brings experience in winning big games to the side.
His influence might well up the level of those around him, and get Jesse Marsch’s side playing better football. Along with the depth that Leeds now have in each position, they certainly have a good chance of survival.
That’ll mean they’re likely to break their record transfer fee. Brendan Aaronson and Rodrigo Moreno were both bought for around £25million.
Following add-ons, McKennie would rise to around £30million. If they are to escape relegation, McKennie will likely have had something to do with that, so they’ll not mind paying that fee too much.
In all fairness, the midfielder has shown at Juventus that he’s worth a decent sum of money anyway.
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