Marcelo Bielsa pleased Leeds United kept hold of Kalvin Phillips and Raphinha - but says those who want to leave can

MARCELO BIELSA has welcomed Leeds United’s decision not to consider selling star turns Raphinha and Kalvin Phillips in the January transfer window – and views it as a positive statement of intent.

No go: Leeds head coach Marcelo Bielsa welcomed the club's decision to keep Kalvin Phillips and Raphinha. Picture Bruce Rollinson
No go: Leeds head coach Marcelo Bielsa welcomed the club's decision to keep Kalvin Phillips and Raphinha. Picture Bruce Rollinson

Both players were the subject of significant late window interest from West Ham.

On the incoming front, Leeds did not make any major signings. The only new recruit was teenage striker Mateo Joseph Fernandez, whose involvement will initially be with the under-23s development squad.

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But Bielsa insists that he was happy with the club’s approach in the recently-closed window, with interest in US international midfielder Brenden Aaronson expected to be revisited in the summer after a £20million offer was turned down by Austrian outfit Red Bull Salzburg.

Not for sale: Leeds United's England international Kalvin Phillips was the subject of a reported £55m bid from West Ham. Picture: Eddie Keogh - The FA/The FA via Getty Images)

Leeds also reportedly rejected the chance to bring in Tottenham Hotspur’s Harry Winks and Manchester United’s Donny van de Beek on loan.

Bielsa, whose side visit Aston Villa on Wednesday evening, said: “It’s very valuable we were able to keep the players that are wanted by other teams. That in itself has importance.

“With respect to no signings coming in, the possibility to improve the squad wasn’t there.

“The club made the necessary efforts and also showed a willingness to contribute. A willingness to invest more money. So as a result, I can only value everything that has been done.

Wanted out: Crysencio Summerville was one of ten Leeds United youngsters who tried to go on loan last month. Picture: Bruce Rollinson

“The equilibrium of the economy of a club is a part of its needs to be established for the future health of the club.

“And for the club not selling such important players, trying to make an investment of £20m obviously emits a signal.”

Meanwhile, Bielsa revealed that Crysencio Summerville was one of 10 young Leeds players to express a desire to leave on loan.

The 20-year-old was linked with a move to Hamburg, but Leeds made it clear he would only move if they could replace him, but nothing transpired in that regard.

Bielsa added: “He spoke with me and told me that he wanted to leave. I told him that there weren’t any problems with him leaving.

“The reason why I said this to him is that as a player he has a pretty frequent participation in the first team. Not necessarily coming on, but he is a player that was contemplated frequently and he asked to leave. For that reason, that motive is sufficient.

“Any player that tells me that they want to leave, I would answer, ‘no problem, I’m not opposed to you leaving. What is the reason?’ That is because he wants to leave. I don’t analyse whether it’s fair or not, whether it corresponds or not. Simply not wanting to be here is sufficient.

“In the case of Summerville, there were ten players in a similar situation. All of the subjects I treated in the same way as it can’t be in any other way.”

Patrick Bamford (foot) remains sidelined for Leeds and Bielsa admits he is not clearer regarding a potential return date.

He added: “Bamford hasn’t improved. He continues with the problems at the bottom of his foot and he hasn’t started jogging. So his situation continues the same way.

“He hasn’t played for 15 games now (due to separate injuries) – how can I not worry?”