Leeds United's £40m problem has given Daniel Farke a clear transfer priority and ideal solution

-Credit: (Image: Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA/Getty Images)
-Credit: (Image: Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA/Getty Images)


Seven right-backs were on the books at Leeds United across last season and now only one remains, yet he is needed at left-back. Sam Byram would probably say right-back is his preferred role, but his injury record, along with Junior Firpo’s, means Daniel Farke can hardly rely on them both to lockdown the full-back slots next season.

Archie Gray, Luke Ayling, Jamie Shackleton, Djed Spence, Connor Roberts and Cody Drameh were all right-back options under contract at one point or another last season. And yet they have all now flown the nest at Elland Road.

It is abundantly clear where the biggest current hole is in this Whites team after the £40m sale of Gray this week. Ayling, Shackleton and Drameh all saw their contracts expire, while Spence and Roberts returned to their parent clubs after loan spells.

READ MORE: Joe Rodon arrives back at Leeds United with a transfer stance for the rest of the window

Realistically, Farke needs at least two new full-backs in the building before August 10, if not sooner. In an ideal world, the German would like to have his squad virtually ready to go as they head off for nine days in his homeland this month, but transfers are not resolved on the will of one man.

The manager either needs to find two right-backs or another left-back to compete with Firpo that releases Byram for duties on his natural side. Roberts remains a tantalising option that seems to tick so many boxes.

The only sticking point may be Burnley’s reluctance to directly strengthen a rival, but unless they have buyers outside the Championship they will risk watching him stagnate for a year before walking away for free next summer. As far as Leeds are concerned, Farke and the board liked Roberts enough to sign him in January and that stance should not have significantly altered in six months.

Injuries and Gray’s form were the big problem for Roberts during his short loan stint, but when he was on the field he was good. The 28-year-old’s leadership and experience went a very long way in such a young dressing room too.

With more time and a broader pool of players available in the summer window, Gretar Steinsson, Jordan Miles and Farke may feel they can do better than Roberts at right-back. The wait will go on for now, but time is ticking and it’s clear where the current recruitment priority needs to be.