Marcelo Bielsa hails Leeds for not selling Kalvin Phillips & Raphinha

Graeme Bailey
Leeds United v Leicester City - Premier League
Leeds United v Leicester City - Premier League / Visionhaus/GettyImages

Leeds United boss Marcelo Bielsa has hailed the club's efforts to keep hold of star names Raphinha and Kalvin Phillips.

Both players have been linked with big money moves away in the past year and last month was no different, with West Ham attempting a double-swoop for the Whites' talismen.

Speaking before his side's Premier League meeting with Aston Villa, Bielsa revealed that the club were able to fend off interest from rival clubs for their star men.

"It's very valuable that we were able to keep players who were wanted by other teams. That has importance. With respect to no signings coming in, the opportunity to improve the squad wasn't there," Bielsa said.

"The club made the necessary efforts. They showed a willingness to invest more money. As a result I can only value everything that's been done."

He also confirmed the club tried to pay £20m for a player - which 90min revealed was Salzburg's American star Brenden Aaronson last month.

"The equilibrium of the economy of a club needs to be established for the good of the club.
For the club not selling such important players, trying to make an investment of £20m, shows a signal," Bielsa continued.

"When you judge the options of a team in the winter window, it's very useful to see what conditions the players were in. Who they bought, how much they spent, how much the players are worth, how much did they cost, what conditions do those players arrive on loan.

"The signings need immediate success whether they are for now or long-term incorporation.

"To give an example, if the club had to replace Bamford, what amount should they invest? A winger costs £30m or £40m. How much does a centre forward that scores goals cost?"

Bielsa confirmed that there was still no good news to report on Patrick Bamford, who has been sidelined since October.

"Bamford has not improved," admitted Bielsa. "He continues with the problems at the bottom of his foot and he has not started jogging, so his situation continues the same way.

"We cannot predict when he will return. Since the injury started, the pain hasn't gone away.
He hasn't played for 15 games now. How can I not worry?"