What will happen if Leeds United get relegated

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Others, such as Illan Meslier or Patrick Bamford, before his injury problems this season, have shown they are genuine Premier League players. Joe Gelhardt also has huge potential, with Bielsa’s reluctance to give him more game time providing one of the supporters’ biggest frustrations towards the end of the Argentine’s reign. It would be foolish to think clubs would not look at picking some of them off when the window opens, should Leeds find themselves in the Championship.

Their director of football, Victor Orta, is a divisive figure: he generated headlines by having a stand-up row with someone seated close to him in the Elland Road directors’ box at the end of the Brentford game in December.

But when a managerial change was needed, he had done the groundwork already as to who Bielsa’s successor so there was no panic. His overall body of work de él-and global network of contacts-has left him with admirers in Italy, Spain and America, where clubs are looking to build sensibly over a period of time.

Financially, Leeds would earn parachute payments if they were relegated but their last accounts already showed them to be in healthy shape. They posted a £26 million profit in the 2020-21 season, bolstered by increased broadcast revenues, and also secured deals with shirt sponsor SBOTOP and kit manufacturer Adidas.

Their wage bill is at £108 million but relegation reductions are common in contracts, reducing some by around 25 per cent in the event of playing in the Championship. They also follow a more Italian or Spanish trend of having buy-out clauses inserted into deals, where players can be bought for a set fee if relegated. Finding buyers for their players would not be a problem, given the progress over the last two years.

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As for Marsch, when he was asked at his unveiling three months ago if he would remain at the club, his answer was unambiguous. “I am committed to being here no matter what the situation because I believe in it so much,” he said.

The American will have realized that relegation was always a possibility, so it is unlikely to go back on his word. Besides, he will still be bullish about his prospects of keeping Leeds in the division: he did, after all, inspire a five-match unbeaten run which yielded 11 points, but a 4-0 thrashing by Manchester City – combined with unexpected wins for Burnley and Everton – left them in 17th place, their lowest position since November. They will be in the bottom three should Everton win their game in hand.

Fixtures are not kind, either. On Sunday, Leeds face an Arsenal team fighting for a Champions League place themselves, then have the traditionally tough fixture against Chelsea on Wednesday, by which time they will know what is needed against Brighton and Brentford in their final matches.

As players and board members filtered out into the car park after the defeat to City last weekend, there were some worried faces. Leeds may not be staring at oblivion as they were in 2004, but everyone at this famous old club knows the stakes as the season enters its final stretch.

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www.telegraph.co.uk

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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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