By Craig Scott

17th Dec, 2021 | 1:10pm

Phil Hay details Leeds United transfer budget update ahead of January

Leeds United are unlikely to have a huge transfer budget in January but Marcelo Bielsa may have some money to spend if there’s “shareholder investment”, according to Phil Hay.

Bielsa’s squad is down to the bare bones due to an injury crisis at Elland Road and business in January is starting to look inevitable.

And if Leeds do sign players in January, The Athletic journalist Hay reports they will look into more frugal deals that could see them sign players like Reading central midfielder John Swift.

“Budget-wise, you’d be looking at more shareholder investment so there would be money there if it was put in basically,” he said on The Phil Hay Show Podcast.

“I don’t see them stretching to £50million of expenditure in this window. For what it’s worth, I don’t think too many clubs will do that.

“How the money would arrive or where from or whatever else, I honestly cannot say that. But the bottom line is if you need money, you have to find money and if you need players, they will need to create a budget for it.

“The size of the budget depends exactly on what it is you’re going for and who you’re going for.

“There probably are players out there who are quite cost-effective and Swift seems to me to be in that category of players who if they do like, can’t be that expensive.

“I might be wrong here but the idea of really big-money signings in this window doesn’t seem too plausible”

Cheap as chips

Swift isn’t a player who should cost Leeds an arm and a leg in the January transfer window as the 26-year-old’s deal at Reading expires at the end of the season.

It remains to be seen what kind of sum the Royals want for their talismanic midfielder but we’d expect it to be less than £10million.

Swift has been in good form for Reading this season despite their lowly league position in the Championship.

The Portsmouth-born ace has scored eight goals and supplied nine assists in 21 league appearances for the 21st-placed club.

It’s impressive to get those kind of numbers from the centre of the midfield anyway but to do it for a team who’s in a relegation battle makes it even better.

Swift can create, he can score and he would fill a hole at Leeds United that needs to be filled as soon as possible.

In other Leeds United news, this star player is set to miss at least three matches in a new injury update.