Jack Harrison almost left Leeds United late in the January transfer window, with Leicester City even getting a “medical going” on deadline day.
Leeds saw the window close at 11pm last night with only one senior outgoing, as Diego Llorente joined AS Roma in a loan deal with the option of a permanent agreement.
However, speculation surrounded Harrison throughout the day, with Leicester hot on the heels of the 26-year-old and a £20m bid said to have been made last week.
Despite messages throughout the day that Harrison would be staying put at Leeds, there was plenty of uncertainty heading towards 11pm last night.
A sale was under consideration with the Yorkshire club not pulling a plug on the deal until late, as per The Athletic. In fact, Leicester got a “medical going” as they worked against the clock before Leeds’ stance was confirmed.
Harrison has played 20 times this season for Leeds, scoring his second goal of the campaign in last Saturday’s 3-1 win over Accrington Stanley in the FA Cup. He’s also registered seven assists in all competitions.
However, Georginio Rutter has bolstered Leeds’ attacking unit this month and Weston McKennie has added an attack-minded dimension to Jesse Marsch’s midfield.
That depth, plus a contract heading into its final 18 months, put Harrison’s future in doubt late in the window. It’s now unclear whether or not Leeds will be able to convince Harrison to extend his contract beyond 2024, despite planned talks.
The winger has made 186 appearances for Leeds, scoring 30 goals and registering 29 assists.
The big updated Jack Harrison quiz – Can Leeds United fans score 20/20?
There’s real mixed feelings when it comes to Harrison.
It’s obviously good news he’s been retained this January as he’s a useful player for Marsch to lean on for the remainder of the season.
He was probably a player Leeds could afford to lose, if they signed a right winger or another attacking midfielder. But they didn’t, so it was important not to lose another body.
However, the issue here is how open Leeds were to letting Harrison leave towards the end of the window. That’s hardly going to convince him to sign a new deal with the club and, therefore, is going to impact contract negotiations.
Leeds could well be left with a player whose value is shrinking by the weeks heading into the summer, with no fresh agreement in the pipeline.
That’s not an ideal situation to be in with a player that’s given you so much.