Orta avoided Deadline day disaster on Leeds’ £20m “revelation” who’s “one of the best” – opinion

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Leeds United ended deadline day with the only notable outgoing having been that of centre-back Diego Llorente, with the experienced Spaniard joining Roma on an initial loan deal, just a matter of weeks after signing a new contract extension.

The Whites were, however, able to come out of the January window rather unscathed with regard to keeping hold of their key figures, with sporting director Victor Orta having seemingly avoided a late disaster by refusing to sanction the sale of forward, Jack Harrison.

The Athletic’s David Ornstein revealed last week that the Yorkshire side had received an offer of around £20m for the Englishman from Premier League rivals Leicester City, with Orta and co having been considering whether to green-light an exit, or to reward the 26-year-old with a new deal and keep him at Elland Road.

The Daily Mail then reported that the move was ‘delicately poised’ heading into deadline day, with the former New York City man – who has just 18 months to run on his existing contract – said to be uncertain about the prospect of joining another side who are scrapping for surviving.

As it proved, Tuesday came and went with the one-time Manchester City ace still at the club, with that resolution seemingly a real blessing as far as Jesse Marsch’s side are concerned, such is the important role that Harrison can go on to play in the second half of the campaign.

The £50k-per-week man – who was previously described as a “revelation” in the MLS by former teammate Frank Lampard – has proven himself a real attacking weapon for Leeds over the past few seasons, having racked up 59 goals and assists in 186 games to date across all fronts.

That includes a haul of two goals and seven assists in all competitions so far this season in 20 outings, while the Stoke-born dynamo was also vital in helping the club stave off the drop last term, after scoring eight goals in 35 league games.

The 5 foot 9 ace notably netted a vital last-minute winner against Brentford on the final day of the 2021/22 campaign to ensure the club’s survival in the top tier, having regularly delivered the goods from the flanks during his stint at Elland Road.

As such, it was no doubt something of a blessing that the wide man did not seal a late move to the Foxes, with Orta having potentially come close to gifting Brendan Rodgers’ side arguably “one of the best wingers in the Premier League“, as described by ex-Everton boss, Lampard.

A player who is undoubtedly committed to the cause – as showcased by the fact that he ranks in the top 8% for both blocks and tackles made among his European peers – Harrison is simply a player whom Marsch could not afford to let go.


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