Leeds United manager Daniel Farke claims that he “can’t guarantee” that additions will be made to his squad before the January transfer window slams shut tomorrow evening, but that the club is working hard behind the scenes to make a signing happen.
Farke’s comments come with Leeds having only seen outgoings so far this January, the most notable of which have been Djed Spence and Luke Ayling – both right-backs – departing West Yorkshire.
Combined with Leo Hjelde’s permanent switch to fellow Championship side Sunderland, with Hjelde being a player who could feature at both left centre-half and left-back, there is a growing sense of worry amongst the Whites fanbase that the club are leaving themselves light in personnel across the whole defensive line.
And with first-choice centre-back Pascal Struijk currently out injured, as well as the dependency on the youthful – yet talented – Archie Gray at right-back and the injury prone figures of Sam Byram and Junior Firpo at left-back, it is easy to see why.
To add to the feelings of frustration for the Elland Road faithful many teams around them, including promotion hopefuls Southampton and Ipswich Town, have managed to add to their squad depth so far this window. As it stands for Leeds in comparison, they currently possess a side weaker in numbers than the one they entered January with.
Farke cannot guarantee additions to his squad before the end of the window
Whilst Farke has hinted at the need for defensive reinforcements throughout the entirety of January, he has also remained insistent that he is not keen to make signings for the sake of it, and that any player who joins his squad must not disrupt the unity within the group.
In this regard, the German told the media that he can make no guarantees that Leeds fans will see any incomings before the window closes, but assures supporters that him and his staff will work up until the dying hours to secure potential additions to his side.
“I can’t guarantee that something will happen in the next 24 hours,” Farke said during his Bristol City pre-match press conference today.
“What I can guarantee is that we’re trying until the last hour to make something happen.”
A cautious approach – but is it necessarily the right one?
There is definitely some merit in what Farke is saying. After all, it is this crop of players who have managed to get Leeds to where they are in the Championship table – with the Whites able to go second into the automatic promotion spots with a victory over Bristol City on Friday evening.
It therefore makes sense that the German would be hesitant to introduce anyone into the group too hastily as a means of preventing any form of disruption to the positive momentum his side have established having been unbeaten since the turn of the year.
Yet, the undeniable truth is that – as things stand – the squad available to Farke is currently weaker than the one he had at his disposal at the beginning of the month.
And as time ticks on and the transfer deadline draws ever closer without any concrete links of potential signings on the horizon, it makes sense that the Leeds fanbase would begin to worry. It would only take injuries to two of the Whites’ current full-back options to throw their season into serious jeopardy.
While there is still just over 24 hours remaining until the window closes, it would perhaps be best for Farke and Leeds’ owners 49ers Enterprises to throw caution to the wind, rather than later coming to regret what might have been had the squad been strengthened in January.