Gary Neville has criticised Victor Orta and Leeds United for selling both Raphinha and Kalvin Phillips in the same summer on The Overlap’s mid-season debate – claiming that losing both players in a “struggling” side was “massive”.
Of course, Leeds survived Premier League relegation by the skin of their teeth under Jesse Marsch last season. A late win at Brentford saw Leeds leapfrog Burnley to safety, while the Clarets suffered defeat to Newcastle on the final day.
Raphinha was instrumental in guiding Leeds away from the relegation zone. He did so, before leaving for Barcelona in a £55million deal. Kalvin Phillips has gone to Manchester City for £45million. That £100million was used to spend.
In came nine new players; Brenden Aaronson, Rasmus Kristensen, Tyler Adams, Marc Roca, Luis Sinisterra, Willy Gnonto, Sonny Perkins, Darko Gyabi and Joel Robles. Leeds have increased the size of the squad, and arguably, the quality.
But Neville has hammered Leeds and Orta for allowing both players to go in the same window. He thinks for a side that were “struggling”, it was a “massive” move to allow the two best players to leave at the same time, not staggered.
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“To lose Kalvin Phillips and Raphinha in the summer, for a club like Leeds, who were struggling anyway at times last season, is massive. You can’t lose those two players just like that,” Neville said, while discussing Leeds on The Overlap.
Neville criticises Orta and Leeds for selling Raphinha and Phillips
While it was a risk selling both in the same window, it was hardly avoidable. Raphinha had his heart set on a move. Meanwhile, Phillips did not suit Marsch’s style during the American’s time with the England ace. Leeds were thin in size.
The squad needed bloating, and to sell two players and bring in nine was excellent work by the club and Orta. Leeds tripled Raphinha’s initial £17million fee. With Leeds in 12th, five places above last season, it is an improvement.
The quality Orta has brought in, too, deserves credit. Tyler Adams looks incredible and has formed a good partnership with Marc Roca. Brenden Aaronson is a livewire at 22. Sinisterra has shown glimpses of being able to mirror Raphinha.