The Athletic approach Ken Bates for comment after ex-Leeds boss makes 2011 transfer admission
Ken Bates has declined to comment to The Athletic after he was approached to explain Leeds United’s sale of Kasper Schmeichel to Leicester City in 2011.
Schmeichel, 34, spent just one season at Elland Road but was shipped off to Leicester for less than £1million, according to ex-Whites manager Simon Grayson.
In an interview with The Athletic, Grayson has revealed more details about the controversial 2011 transfer while Bates was in the Elland Road boardroom.
Grayson said: “It is a bargain in today’s terms. Even at the time, that wasn’t a good deal to sell a very good goalkeeper, but he had a year left on his contract and the club signed him for nothing, so the club looked to recoup some money on him. It was a business deal that I wasn’t overjoyed in doing.
“He signed a two-year contract and after the first season, the people above me made the decision to sell him because they didn’t want him to walk out on a free.
“There were a few players at that time who began to be sold by the people above me. That was the decision and it wasn’t anything to do with his ability. Yes, I had to make out at the time that, sort of, we were looking for more competition.
“People realised that the people above us were starting to sell players, although we went down the line of saying that we were looking to improve the squad.”
Bates’ silence says it all.
Since being sold by Leeds, Schmeichel has gone on to become one of the best and most reliable goalkeepers in the Premier League.
He also won the league title with Leicester in 2016 in one of the biggest shocks in English football.
Leeds made a lot of errors in the transfer market back then and let’s face it, since Andrea Radrizzani replaced Massimo Cellino as owner, mistakes have still happened with Victor Orta as director of football.
But the thing with Leeds now is that they have a consistent attitude towards their approach and one of the things they’ve done well is learn from their mistakes.
You don’t see Orta making the same signings he did in 2017. You don’t see players being shipped out after one season like Schmeichel was.
There’s an air of patience about Leeds’ approach to transfers and that is one of the reasons why the Whites are a Premier League club once again.
Grayson’s reveal about Schmeichel is also an important reminder for fans who have been highly critical of Illan Meslier this season.
Meslier is a young goalkeeper who’s in his debut season in the Premier League.
Give him time and support him and he’ll come good.
In other Leeds United news, the Whites wanted to sign this striker in the summer, it has been confirmed.