Leeds United: Phil Hay gives update on future of key Elland Road figure

Leeds boss Marcelo Bielsa bellowing instructions

Phil Hay has revealed that he believes Leeds' Director of Football Victor Orta wants to remain at the club until they secure a European place.

What did Hay say?

Hay was asked by a supporter whether Orta was thinking of moving on having previously been linked with Roma.

Replying in his Leeds mailbag on The Athletic, Leeds journalist Hay said of Orta: "He does have good chemistry with Bielsa. And despite the criticism of him over the years, he’s very well respected by people in the game (even if he’s been ruffling a few feathers with his antics in various directors’ boxes this season).

"Roma were interested and other clubs have been too. A good director of football is worth a great deal. But they tell me that he wants to stay at Leeds until the club break back into Europe."

How has Orta fared at Leeds?

Orta joined Leeds in May 2017, after working at clubs such as Zenit St. Petersburg and Middlesbrough in the past.

In his first season at the club, Leeds hired two managers, with Thomas Christiansen and Paul Heckingbottom both failing to last long at Elland Road.

In the summer of 2018, Bielsa arrived in Yorkshire, and appears to have worked well with Orta ever since.

Which players has Orta helped bring to Leeds?

Leeds' recruitment has been impressive under Orta. He has managed to secure signings such as Patrick Bamford, Raphinha and Illan Meslier in recent years. The trio have shone in the Premier League this season, with Bamford and Raphinha scoring 14 and six goals respectively, whilst Meslier has kept nine clean sheets.

Orta has also used the loan market well. In 2019/20, the club lured Ben White away from Brighton temporarily. He helped Leeds secure promotion from the Championship, as the side conceded the fewest goals in the division.

Is a return to Europe realistic?

Leeds have not featured in Europe since 2002/03. The following season they were relegated from the Premier League, and did not return to the top-flight for 16 years.

The current campaign marks 20 years since the side went all the way to the Champions League semi-finals, when they were eventually knocked out by Valencia. Could they be back amongst Europe's elite soon?

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Who is this former Leeds player?

Getting back into the Champions League seems to be a stretch at this point. Leeds find themselves 10 points adrift of the top four with eight games to go.

However, they have established themselves in mid-table this year, and could fancy their chances of pushing for a Europa League berth next year. Wolves proved in 2018/19 and 2019/20 that breaking into the Europa League is an achievable aim for newly-promoted teams, and Leeds will hope that they can follow in the footsteps of Nuno Espirito Santo's side next season.

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