Leeds managing director David Richmond has defended the club’s employment of an agent to look into the sale of a number of their players.
Richmond’s response comes in the wake of star striker Alan Smith’s critical attack on Leeds for seemingly handing Phillip Morrison the responsibility of handling key deals.
Smith is adamant no-one at the club is going to tell him which club he will be heading to this summer should he decide to leave if Leeds are relegated.
But Leeds have taken on Morrison as a ‘poacher-turned-gamekeeper’, the agent ensuring other agents do not try to fleece the Whites, as has happened in the past.
One of the most notorious transfers took place last summer when Harry Kewell joined Liverpool for £5m (€7.4m), only for the Australian’s agent Bernie Mandic to pocket £2m (€3m) from the deal.
Although Leeds are still heavily in debt, the cost of hiring Morrison far outweighs the hundreds of thousands of pounds they could potentially lose if other unscrupulous agents take advantage of the club’s plight.
“All we are doing is if – and it is only an if – we get relegated then we want to be prepared to give ourselves the very best opportunity to come back next season,” Richmond told the club’s official website, www.leedsunited.com.
“We are aware other football clubs have problems and Leeds United have had problems in the past with football agents. We do not wish to have those problems with agents claiming commissions for work not done.
“We have employed an agent to act on behalf of Leeds United to look around the market to find out if there is an interest in our players. This interest does not relate to any specific player.
“When our fate is known we will then be able to sit down and discuss what has happened with knowledge and be able to plan going forward. It would give us the best possible opportunity of building a strong squad for next season.
“No-one is going to be given away. We are doing what any normal business would do.”