Leeds United hit with 'fire sale' transfer warning after Wembley play-off final heartbreak

Daniel Farke and Ethan Ampadu
-Credit: (Image: Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA/Getty Images)

Leeds United have been told they could face a desperate 'fire sale' situation after failing to secure promotion back into the Premier League following their 1-0 loss to Southampton in the Championship play-off final at Wembley Stadium this afternoon.

The Whites went into the clash off the back of a 4-0 win over Norwich City in the second leg of their play-off semi-final but failed to transfer the momentum across to the nation's capital, becoming the only team in English football history to lose four play-off finals having lost their previous three in 1987, 2006 and 2008.

It was Adam Armstrong's opener in the 23rd minute that proved to be the deciding goal, as a lapse in concentration at the back allowed him to find space behind the pushed-up Leeds defensive line and calmly slot the ball home past Illan Meslier. Despite Leeds coming close several times in the second half, including a Dan James effort which cannoned off the crossbar late on, it was the Saints who managed to close the game out.

READ MORE: Daniel Farke press conference as Leeds United boss reacts to crushing play-off final loss

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It marks the third defeat in three matches against Russell Martin for Daniel Farke as Leeds boss this season, who highlighted the squad's disappointment in his post-match press conference. He said: "As you can imagine, it could not be worse. [We're] suffering a lot in this moment. Deeply disappointed because once you come so close with 90 points, great two legs against Norwich.

"Today, we were not the worst side in this final and it hurts a lot. [I] do not want to miss congratulations to Southampton. They defended really well, had their one chance and were clinical in this moment. Only stat that matters is the goals. We had more possession, xG, chances and shots. All the best in the Premier League to them. [It] hurts so much when you are this close."

Farke will now have to get his players up off the canvas and ready to go again but that may now be more difficult that expected. Speaking to OffshorePokerSites, ex-Leeds left-back Ian Harte believes that many of the club's top stars will now leave in the summer transfer window after failing to secure promotion back to the top flight of English football, and that the club may lose personnel in key positions to top clubs.

He claimed: "I think a fire sale is quite a possibility. The financial state and the potential money owed has been reported. Now we don't know how true that is, but I think without promotion, you'll end up seeing a few of the players depart.

"Someone will probably make a move for Bamford or James and those kinds of key players within the attacking group. Archie Gray is another player that could possibly leave, I think he’ll probably get the big clubs sniffing around. He's done a remarkable job playing right back but I like to see him in the midfield.

"He's got energy, he's brave on the ball, he can run, he can tackle and he gets up and down the pitch. For such a young talent to play that many games is incredible, and not only that, he’s part of the Gray family. You know, he's got a younger brother, brother. That's common through Harry as well. Obviously Andy, his dad, that was there you have Eddie that was there as well. So the grey family name continues on at Leeds United."