View: Victor Orta could be first Leeds United victim as 49ers takeover edges closer
Victor Orta has suffered a contrasting year at Leeds United, and the soon-to-be new American owners might show him no mercy at Elland Road.
Orta is enjoying his sixth season in Yorkshire after being appointed Sporting Director at Leeds back in 2017. The Spaniard has certainly enjoyed some great moments with the Whites, but he’s let himself down this year.
The 43-year-old’s highlights at Elland Road include appointing Marcelo Bielsa, overseeing the club’s Premier League promotion and a handful of transfer coups including the brilliant acquisition of Raphinha for just £17million. [BBC]
However, while Orta’s overall recruitment has been quite good – he’s also experienced his fair share of blunders. Daniel James looks set to leave the club on a cut price just a year after his £25million move from Manchester United, while Junior Firpo’s £12.8million fee looks like robbery in hindsight.
And that’s not even mentioning the Jean-Kevin Augustin saga. Orta brought the French striker in on loan from RB Leipzig in a move that looked extremely promising from the Whites. It swiftly turned into a disaster.
Augustin made just three appearances for the club, but a clause in his contract stated Leeds had an obligation to purchase the forward permanently if the club were promoted to the Premier League. [Yorkshire Evening Post]
But before Leeds’ eventual promotion, the Covid-19 pandemic suspended English football. This caused Leeds and Leipzig to dispute whether or not the clause had to be triggered. The resulting court case ordered Leeds to pay the £18million transfer fee in full.
It was an embarrassing saga for the club, and especially Orta. To have the case settled at a time when Leeds are crying out for a star striker only added to the humiliation.
But Orta’s downfall hasn’t just come in his business decisions, but also his behaviour towards fans. After Leeds produced a remarkable comeback to beat Bournemouth 4-3, the Leeds director was recorded swearing and gesturing to fans who had a week prior chanted “sack the board”.
Orta is known for his energy and passion at Leeds, but to direct it towards the club’s own fans amid a tough patch of form was a real low. He was reported by the Leeds United Supporters’ Trust and shortly after issued an apology, but it’ll take time to repair the gulf between supporters and the board.
With Leeds now set for a takeover from 49ers Enterprises [The Times], Orta should be sweating about his position at the club. The new American owners may want to appoint a new man in charge, and Orta’s given them plenty of reasons to consider it.
In other Leeds United news, the Whites are set to announce a friendly match v Elche during the World Cup break