Leeds United seek compensation insurance as they brace for double rejection

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Two of the players Leeds United have kept the door open for next season made just 12 appearances between them for the Whites last season. Last week’s retained list raised a few eyebrows when Cody Drameh and Jamie Shackleton were highlighted as potential stayers come 1st July.

The latter is believed to be in talks with the Whites, while the former has had a formal contract offer submitted ahead of their current deals expiring on 30th June. Neither, however, should hold out much hope of playing a significant amount if they do sign fresh terms.

In Drameh’s case in particular, it is worth highlighting the rules around footballers under 24 years old in the UK. Should a player under this age reject a contract offer from their existing club to sign elsewhere, that existing club would be due compensation from the new outfit.

Leeds have, therefore, covered themselves if Drameh decides to reject their offer and move on. In the four years since he arrived, Drameh, now 22, has made five league appearances and spent last season away on loan with relegated Birmingham City.

The right-back would have understood he was too inexperienced to expect regular Premier League minutes under Marcelo Bielsa, but there was frustration neither Jesse Marsch nor Daniel Farke provided the regular starts he wanted. By all accounts, Drameh caught the eye in the Championship with Cardiff City and Luton Town, but even United’s relegation didn’t lead to Drameh settling.

Farke involved the former Fulham youth through pre-season, but a disastrous turn from the bench at Portman Road in August seemed to confirm an exit that was already brewing. That loan to St Andrew’s, without a contract extension, felt like the end for Drameh at Elland Road.

This last-minute contract offer has at least given a glimmer of hope, but the most likely outcome still feels like an exit. Luton’s relegation, after such a positive experience between Rob Edwards and Drameh in 2023, might bring Kenilworth Road back into consideration.

With Shackleton, there is consistent evidence of Farke’s liking for the Thorp Arch graduate. Injuries have not helped him, but Shackleton’s work ethic, stamina, and versatility have always impressed the German.

The manager would be happy to retain Shackleton as an option in both full-back roles and midfield, but, at 24, his need for regular minutes arguably outweighs Drameh’s. Shackleton has never made more than seven league starts in a season for Leeds and, with his prime years approaching, a fresh start elsewhere should surprise nobody.