Leeds player wages: How Bielsa & Orta can save £7.1m

Leeds United's Helder Costa

Leeds United have been a breath of fresh air since returning to the Premier League.

Back in the top-flight for the first time in 16 years, Marcelo Bielsa's men have played a fearless brand of football to cement themselves in mid-table.

The question is: how do they get even better?

Well, if they use the next transfer window wisely, they could offload some fringe players to free up space on the wage bill for more talented signings to come into the squad.

Here, GIVEMESPORT's Sam Brookes takes a look at which five players should be shown the door at Elland Road this summer, with all wages figures courtesy of Spotrac.

1. Helder Costa - Annual salary: £1,690,000

Costa is Leeds' fourth-highest earner but has not made the impact the club would have hoped for in the Premier League.

He started the campaign on fire, registering two goal contributions in his first two matches. However, he has only managed a further three since.

The 27-year-old has largely been restricted to substitute appearances in 2021, and it seems that Leeds would be better off bringing in someone else for less money rather than sticking with Costa any longer.

2. Gaetano Berardi - Annual salary: £1,680,000

This may seem harsh. Berardi has been out for most of the season with a serious knee injury. He has not had the opportunity to show what he can do.

Yet Leeds need to be ruthless if they are to push onto the next level. Berardi turns 33 this summer, and his contract is set to expire in June.

Considering how well Leeds have fared in his absence, it is hard to make a case for them offering Berardi an extension to his current deal.

3. Kiko Casilla - Annual salary: £1,670,000

Casilla may be a former Real Madrid player, and even has an international cap for Spain to his name, but he is no longer needed in Yorkshire.

He is now a back-up option for the excellent Illan Meslier, and has started just one league match all season. Leeds should not be paying such a substantial wage to a player that has sat on the bench for the majority of the campaign. 

Time to move Casilla on.

4. Adam Forshaw - Annual salary: £1,040,000

Another player who has not featured all season, Forshaw has not played for the club in over 500 days due to an ongoing hip injury.

This leaves major doubts as to whether he will ever be the same player again when he does finally return. It's debatable how much influence he'd have on the squad anyway, with Kalvin Phillips, Stuart Dallas and Mateusz Klich all well-established in midfield. 

Forshaw only has a year left on his contract, so trying to sell him this summer could be Leeds' best option.

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5. Pablo Hernandez - Annual salary: £988,000

This one might not be a popular choice. After all, Hernandez was exceptional for Leeds in the Championship, and registered 18 goal involvements in 36 matches when they won promotion last year.

Unfortunately, it simply hasn't worked out for him this season. He has not scored in the league in 2020/21, and is no more than a bit-part player nowadays.

Hernandez turns 36 next month, and it seems that his best days are behind him. A parting of the ways is necessary this summer.

Savings:

All in all, axing these players would save Leeds just short of £7.1m. To give some perspective of how helpful that would be, Rodrigo is Elland Road's highest earner on £3m per year, so having an extra £7.1m spare would allow Leeds to pay the salary for two players of similar quality and have something left in the bank. 

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