By George Overhill

26th Mar, 2023 | 4:11pm

Leeds United have given their word that they “will” make Weston McKennie’s loan deal permanent if they stay up, and it should be “immediate”, Gazzetta dello Sport reports.

There has been growing confusion about the circumstances in which the American remains at Elland Road past the end of the season, with it originally reported as a loan-to-buy deal that becomes an obligation under certain circumstances [Sky Sports Italy, 29 January], namely avoiding relegation.

And according to the latest report that is expected to definitely happen for €35million [£30.8million] straight away once Premier League status is secured, but there is nothing contractual which states it must do.

The report from 90min on 22 March which said the Whites were not looking to keep the midfielder at the end of the season would therefore suggest the club are planning to go back on their word, despite the relationship between the clubs reportedly being good.

And Gazzetta report on Sunday (26 March) that the only reason that McKennie accepted to a loan exit from Turin in the first place was that he didn’t want to be relegated, so it appears to be the US international who was behind that stipulation rather than Leeds United.


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It seems the lack of complete certainty over McKennie’s future is partly down to the Whites’ fortunes under Javi Gracia over the final weeks of the season, and partly down to how trustworthy they are.

The 24-year-old hasn’t blown everyone away with his play since arriving in January, but he has been a solid performer so far considering he arrived midseason to a new league with a team that then immediately went through a messy managerial change.

Whether that will be enough between now and the end of the season to make forking out over £30million to keep him around an attractive deal is up for debate.

But it would not enhance the club’s reputation if they were widely seen as reneging on an agreement, and Andrea Radrizzani would surely be unpopular back in Italy.

And it seems that Leeds may have been prepared to sign McKennie permanently in the winter window but it was he who preferred the loan in the first instance in case the club were relegated before he’d spent a year in England.

Based on recent results under Gracia it would therefore seem pretty likely that the former Schalke man remains on a permanent basis, but football clubs have snubbed handshake agreements before, so you can never say never.

In other Leeds United news, the Whites are continuing to monitor a target they made an approach for in January, with his club now braced for bids to arrive in the summer.

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