Jesse Marsch warns Leeds’ squad will be broken up if they cannot avoid drop

Leeds manager Jesse Marsch fears relegation from the Premier League on Sunday will lead to the break-up of his squad.

The Yorkshire club must secure a better result than Burnley in their final game of the season, at Brentford, to secure their status in the top flight and avoid a return to the Championship just two years after winning promotion.

Rival clubs are watching Leeds’ plight carefully, with several players likely to be on the market should survival not be secured. Kalvin Phillips, Raphinha, Jack Harrison, Illan Meslier and Patrick Bamford are in a group who will attract bids in the summer in that scenario.

Several have clauses in their contracts that sees them available for modest fees should they drop into the Championship. Tottenham have a long-standing interest in Harrison, while Raphinha could be of interest to Manchester United.

The rivalry between the two clubs makes that deal complicated but United, whose transfer budget is reduced after failing to reach the Champions League, are understood to be monitoring the situation. New manager Erik ten Hag wants a striker but will go for a left-footed right forward if that is not possible.

Marsch is aware that failing to climb above Burnley on Sunday will see the end of the road for the team that got to the Premier League together and helped them stay in the top flight last season.

“I haven’t gone through player-by player what the consequences will be but I am aware there are always changes from season to season and the best chance to keep the core of the group together is to stay in the league,” said Marsch .

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“A big part of my personal motivation is to continue the relationships I have here. I have really enjoyed working with the group and would hate to see some of the guys go because I have made a real connection with the players here and we’ve really enjoyed our time here. I think there is great potential of what we can become.”

To avoid players leaving, Marsch needs a positive result against Brentford and to hope it is better than Burnley’s result at home to Newcastle. Club legend Eddie Gray has been at the club’s Thorp Arch training ground this week, adding his inspiration from him during a huge week.

“Eddie is such a wonderful man and has a lot of wisdom and has been very generous with me. He told me that in the old stadium at Brentford it was always incredibly difficult to play there. With the newer stadium, it’s really nice but the energy is not as powerful and maybe it’s a little bit easier to play there now,” said Marsch.

“But we expect in their last match of the season when they are in their first season in the Premier League for their fans to celebrate an incredible season and for their team to perform for their fans.”

Marsch will give Bamford every opportunity to play at Brentford after recovering from a foot injury.

“We still haven’t made a final decision on where he will stand for Sunday. We’re hopeful we can make the decision that we can give him minutes on Sunday,” said Marsch, who confirmed that Luke Ayling will be out for up to four months after undergoing a knee injury while suspended.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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