Andrea Radrizzani's three-year goal to establish Leeds United in the Premier League

Having taken Leeds United into the Premier League ahead of schedule, Andrea Radrizzani's next goal is to establish them there over a three-year period.

To do that, he wants the Whites to stay ambitious but grounded.

For the first time in 17 years, Leeds are preparing for a top-flight campaign, and negotiations for new signings began even before the transfer window opened on Monday.

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Top-half finishes for newly-promoted Sheffield United in the season just gone and Wolverhampton Wanderers – the latter admittedly on a very big budget – before them show it is possible to thrive as Premier League new boys, but chairman Radrizzani is realistic enough to know the first two seasons will be very difficult.

AMBITIONS: Leeds United chairman Andrea Radrizzani

“I have a clear vision,” he said. “I need first to secure the team in the Premier League for the next three years.

“The first two will be the most difficult as shown by statistics. If we stay for three years at least then we can have a very bright future, aiming to be just behind the top six.”

The Blades finished ninth last season but play-off winners Aston Villa only escaped relegation by a point, whilst Norwich City were relegated. In 2018-19 Cardiff City and Fulham went straight back down.

Mere survival is of no interest to Radrizzani, whose plans to expand Elland Road and build a new city centre training ground will kick in if and when Leeds become established in the lucrative top division once more.

“(Chief executive) Angus Kinnear, (sporting director) Victor Orta and (coach) Marcelo Bielsa, these are the key people,” explained Radrizzani. “I had to change the culture of this club.

“When I arrived (in 2017) there were great people but they would be happy with average, they didn't have ambition or an expectation to succeed. Only the leadership can change everyone else.

“We have changed the mentality of everyone. This is the most important impact I have had in the club.

“It was a process to learn and do my job better. When you are exposed to verbal abuse or even seeing my team like Victor abused I suffer a lot but that process helps me to enjoy (success) more.

“It's important to stay grounded. I can find my balance and be more focused on the future to work calmly.”

As well as strengthening the squad for a higher standard of football – captain Liam Cooper is the only central defender for next season, competition at centre-forward is clearly needed, the team's creative heartbeat Pablo Hernandez is 35 and there are questions over the goalkeeping position – Bielsa's future also has to be secured with his contract up.

The unpredictable Argentinian has been fundamental to the on-field transformation of the club so supporters will not rest easy until he has put pen to paper.

“I have a different view,” said Radrizzani. “It's an honour for Marcelo to be in charge of a club like this. It's a choice, it's an honour. We don't have to plea for anyone to stay.”

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