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Opinion: Leeds United Harrison loan – could free up cash for Ben White deal

Leeds United signing Jack Harrison for a third loan season is a piece of good business. The Manchester City youngster has improved from his first season at Elland Road and pushing for a third loan spell is a no-brainer, really.

He comes in as Leeds’ first confirmed signing of the summer, their first Premier League capture. He knows the system down to its finest points and plays it very well. On top of this, Marcelo Bielsa likes him and the way that he plays.

His direct running, quickness of foot to take him past opponents and eye for a goal has seen him notch up 6 goals and provide 8 assists. His energetic style has been evident in helping drive Leeds United forward and turning opposing defenders on their heels. He’s also featured in every one of Leeds’ 44 games this season, starting them all and featuring for 94% of the minutes.

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Bear with me on this bit, and I accept that it is speculation. Leeds United taking Jack Harrison on loan, rather than on a permanent deal, means they are saving money – a lot of money. Noise in the media says that Manchester City value Harrison in the £10m bracket. That’s a substantial amount of money in anyone’s language.

The question is thus – have Leeds United made this loan move for a reason, a particular reason? Could they be earmarking the money for deployment elsewhere? Allow me to digress a moment.

Fielding a question from journalist Phil Hay about Ben White and a potential deal, Leeds United CEO Angus Kinnear was forthright in his explanations. Kinnear initially responded saying: “Ben is going to be hugely sought after, it’s one of the risks of doing the type of deal we did.”

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That ‘type of deal’ was taking White on loan without a purchase option. That wasn’t on the table with Brighton issuing a ‘take it or leave it’ ultimatum in regard to Leeds loaning White without an attached option to purchase. Kinnear does admit that Leeds have a battle on their hands about a future deal adding:

We now have some conversations to have with Brighton as to where they see his future. We know they rate him very highly. We know other clubs rate him very highly.”

However, Kinnear does spy a glimmer of hope and addresses this as the interview fades out. Speaking of the position that Leeds and Ben White are in, Kinnear continues:

We have an advantage in that Ben loves the club, he loves playing for the club. He loves his teammates. He knows he’s going to get game time under Marcelo. So, we have a small competitive advantage there but, ultimately, we are now going to be fighting with some big names for his signature.”

Being in this fight with ‘big names’ means that you have to bring your A-game to the table. Going back to the money saved with loaning Jack Harrison, rather than buying him outright, is this part of Leeds United’s A-game?

What about the money that could potentially be saved by not pursuing a permanent deal for Jean-Kevin Augustin? Could that be part of Leeds United’s A-game?

Yes, it is speculation. Yes, it is a big leap of the imagination. But, take stock a moment. Leeds United not pursuing permanent deals for Harrison and Augustin this summer could save them a combined £25m-or-so. That’s a hefty wedge of cash to put towards a defender who some are valuing around the £30m mark.

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