Leeds United are back in the big time, but they are already looking higher, with the club’s chief executive having eyes on the top six.
Marcelo Bielsa became the man to finally end 16 years of top-flight exile for the West Yorkshire side, West Brom and Brentford’s defeats this week confirming Leeds‘ promotion and their status as Championship winners.
The Elland Road faithful have endured a torrid spell since their relegation in 2004, including three years in League One, while watching a number of promotion attempts fall by the wayside under a whole host of different managers, including nine permanent bosses in the last six years.
However, with Premier League football now finally back on the menu, Leeds chief executive, Angus Kinnear, has admitted that the club have already started the process of strengthening their squad, suggesting they will be among the highest-earning clubs in the division due to the size of their fanbase.
“We know we need to strengthen,” Kinnear said, as per the Express. “Targets have been identified. We’re working on them already, we’re working on them now – today it’s started in earnest. And (we know) that recruitment is going to be the biggest challenge because the window is so short.
😍 THE MOMENT! pic.twitter.com/L4T33JxsQs
— Leeds United (@LUFC) July 18, 2020
“If you look at our business model, the size of our fanbase means that we can generate commercial revenues in the top third of the Premier League teams.
“With the TV money being fairly evenly spread other than the performance-related element, it means we immediately have a competitive advantage if we can harness that fanbase and use those resources to compete in the transfer market.
“I think next year the team will go out every week and play swashbuckling, attacking football, will show absolutely no fear, will show no team any respect. We’re not going to be scared and I think we’ll give Leeds supporters another year they can be proud of.”
Leeds have only been confirmed back in the top flight for a number of days, but Kinnear has lofty ambitions for the club, saying the club’s ‘vision’ is to be a Champions League team once again, a tournament they reached the semi-finals of back in 2001.
“Whilst we’re celebrating, whilst we’re all very excited, we’ve got back to where we belong. This really is base camp for Leeds United,” he said.
“Leeds United shouldn’t be a Championship side, they should be a Premier League side, so really the challenge starts now and it’s about competing in the Premier League.
“Now it’s going to be really about building on that and making sure that over the next few years we start to compete at the level Leeds should be competing in, which ultimately is the top six, and that’s always been our aim.
“Leeds should have a Premier League team. Candidly, Leeds should have a Champions League team and that’s the vision.”