How new Leeds United loan manager Andrew Taylor will work with Marcelo Bielsa and Victor Orta

On Tuesday morning came the news Leeds United had appointed former Bolton and Middlesbrough player Andrew Taylor as their new Loan Manager.

Taylor becomes only the second person employed by Leeds in such a capacity, following Simone Farina.

The Italian left the role in November of 2020, having first taken the role only the year before. After Farina left the post to become General Manger for a player management company, the role had remained vacant until Taylor’s appointment.

With a new man in the job, the question is whether this will see a change in how Leeds utilise the loan system going forwards.

How do Leeds use loans now?

It’s well documented that Marcelo Bielsa prefers those he deems the most promising young players close by, where he can observe their development first-hand and they can join in training with the first-team.

They are often used as additional bodies in first-team training and the Argentinian tends to attend every PL2 game he can.

While there are few U23s players who have made long-term impacts on the first-team – plenty have been given the experience of being included in match day squads and the entire U23s squad will look at the example of Pascal Struijk as inspiration.

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, the young defender had only a chastening first-team experience under his belt, that coming in the 3-3 draw with Cardiff City where he was brought on with Leeds attempting to hold onto a 3-1 lead.

However, he was given opportunities late in the season which he took with both hands and ended up playing well over 1000 minutes in the Premier League last year. There are even some who feel he deserves to be seen as the first-choice in that role, over club captain Liam Cooper.

With that being the case, it’s been reported that Leeds have recently turned down an approach from Sunderland to loan Charlie Cresswell, the England U19 international and captain of the U23s side.

This is a very different approach to Chelsea or Manchester City, who tend to prefer loaning their top youngsters out to gain first-team experience at the earliest opportunity.

England youth international Taylor Harwood-Bellis is currently on Man City’s books, but last year spent time on loan at Blackburn Rovers, and this season has joined up with City icon Vincent Kompany at RSC Anderlecht.

With Bielsa as Head Coach, Leeds’ approach to loans has been that only those players which don’t have a future at the club are loaned out.

It’s noticeable that young players who were previously thought to have great promise, such as Robbie Gotts, Alfie McCalmont, Bryce Hosannah and Ryan Edmondson were all loaned out in 2020/21; largely forgotten men during this summer’s pre-season.

How could Taylor affect the loan policy?

Knowing Bielsa’s particularity, it seems unlikely Taylor would be able to influence a change in policy regarding how Leeds use loans, should he even want to do so.

However, he will be expected to help set up the optimal loans to continue the development of those players who are sent out. On the Training Ground Guru podcast, Victor Orta speaks admirably about Arsenal’s process in loaning out Eddie Nketiah, where he was required to produce a presentation in order to show why he felt Leeds were best fit for the Arsenal forward’s development.

Taylor will be expected to put together a rigorous system of his own. This will likely include data profiles from the club’s various data partners as well as Taylor’s own experience through many years playing and working within the EFL.

Although loanees may not have a future whilst Bielsa remains at the club, the next step for Leeds – as they harbour ambitions to compete for top six places again one day in the future – is to start profiting from more of their young players that don’t make the grade in the first-team.

New Leeds United loan manager Andrew Taylor whilst in his previous post as Sunderland AFC first-team coach

Top six clubs are often able to sell players on in multi-million pound deals without the youngster ever featuring for their parent club, largely due to successful loan spells. Leeds know first-hand how loans can inflate a player’s worth having failed to snare Ben White from Brighton last summer.

If Taylor outlasts Bielsa in his post, the ex-Sunderland man might be able to focus on developing loan pathways for players who will best serve the first-team for Leeds United in the future. For now, it looks as though his job will be to focus on finding the best loan possible to maximise the value which the Whites can then tap into in negotiations.

As the club are looking to continue moving forwards by strengthening the first-team and haven’t made a major sale in the last two summer windows, raising revenues will become more and more important and Taylor will be expected to play a part in that.

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