New Leeds United deal on the cards for senior Elland Road figure as new appointment mooted with 'awful lot of authority' - Phil Hay
Leeds United could employ a new director of football above Nick Hammond and Gretar Steinsson to replace Victor Orta, says Phil Hay.
During a discussion on The Square Ball (9 September) about the influence of the former Elland Road director of football the Athletic journalist suggested that not only would the Whites like to extend Hammond’s contract which is expiring imminently, but a new name could still be brought in down the line above him and technical director Steinsson.
In the wake of CEO Angus Kinnear’s interview on the same channel (7 September) the chaos which has characterised the club since the departure of Marcelo Bielsa has been in focus, and Hay suggested Daniel Farke could now fill the role of the influential manager, but a replacement for the powerful Spaniard Orta may still be on the cards.
Hay said (23m 55s): “I think what I’ve seen at Leeds has convinced me more and more that there is definitely a place at a club for a sporting director/director of football with an awful lot of authority.
“And it wouldn’t surprise me that much if at some point down the line Leeds, despite that fact at the moment they’ve got this set up of Nick Hammond and Gretar Steinsson [got one].
“Hammond must be out of contract, or there abouts, but Leeds would really like to keep him. It will be interesting to see where that goes. They like the way that he operates and works, and he’s very experienced, so you might well see him stay on if he’s willing.
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“But it wouldn’t surprise me at some stage if they do employ an overarching director of football who goes above them…
“You have these people at a lot of major clubs too, but the more I look at it the more I realise you also have managers with massive amounts of authority too.”
There’s certainly some logic to attempting to recreate the most successful dynamic at Leeds United in recent years with new characters.
The Bielsa-Orta axis was in place for the revolution that took the Whites back to the Premier League after so long away, as Championship winners, as part of the most influential era in the club’s recent history.
However, huge numbers of fans are certain to attribute far more of that to the beloved Argentinian manager than the not so beloved ex-director of football, not least because of the latter’s woeful succession plan from the now-Uruguay boss.
Farke is not Bielsa, but in comparison to the Orta-backed Jesse Marsch and Javi Gracia, as well as the Kinnear-emergency option Sam Allardyce, the German is the closest the club have had for a while.
But despite Farke, Steinsson and Hammond arriving into a tumultuous situation this summer the trio have done a pretty admirable job so far, to overcome the upheaval of the takeover and the long list of player departures during the window and come out with a squad that looks like it can challenge.
So while Hay’s suggestion that there may be an Orta to Farke’s Bielsa down the line, there is surely mileage for now in continuing with the three men who are not tarred by the brush of the Andrea Radrizzani era and seeing what more they can achieve.