By George Overhill

4th Feb, 2023 | 9:11pm

Jesse Marsch admits regret over near Leeds United exit for Jack Harrison amid dramatic deadline day Leicester visit

Jesse Marsch admits it took Leeds United “longer than it should” to reach the right outcome over Jack Harrison on deadline day.

The Whites winger came within an hour or so of making a £20million move to Leicester City on the final day of the window, travelling to the Foxes and even starting a medical [The Athletic, 1 February], before an about face at Elland Road him back late in the day.

The American manager believes that was ultimately the “best” outcome and insists he was very open with the player over the preceding two days, although he feels the decision to keep the 26-year-old should have been reached sooner.

Marsch told Sky Sports: “When things become concrete at the end, everyone has to identify what they’re doing and it just took us longer than it should to get to that point.

“I know it may seem we don’t always discuss these things openly, but with Jack I probably had 10 open conversations within 48 hours where we were very clear with each other.

“The outcome is the most important thing, navigate the situation to get the outcome that’s best.”

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Marsch seems to genuinely care about his players in a way that some managers don’t even try to portray, and while he means well what he says about Harrison doesn’t really make a whole lot of sense.

If he had been in such constant contact with the player in the final two days of the window it makes reaching the evening of deadline day with the former City man in Leicester ready to complete a move only to be brought back a head-scratcher.

It is the second deadline day running where the exit of a Leeds United wide man has been a source of confusion, after Dan James’ loan to Fulham went through despite the collapsed deal for Bamba Dieng on 1 September, a situation that was unpopular in some quarters.

With Harrison there wasn’t even a late issue with a corresponding move that would explain the change of heart, so while all parties will put on a publicly united front it is certainly a situation to keep an eye on for the rest of the season.

The new contract that has hovered over the situation since Newcastle pushed to sign him in the summer has still not materialised, and if it isn’t wrapped up soon the question of an exit will be near the top of the agenda again after this season.

Perhaps there is truly nothing amiss with the situation, but if so it shouldn’t have come as close as it did to a major deadline day permanent exit without the concrete solution, as Marsch calls it, so if the player is to remain an important part of the squad the new deal should probably be wrapped up as a priority now.

In other Leeds United news, the Whites have landed a major boost without even stepping foot on the pitch.