Leeds must buy to stay on a high, says Aussie legend Dorigo

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Amid the euphoria sweeping Yorkshire, Leeds United great Tony Dorigo - the first Australian to pull on the famous white jersey - claims Marcelo Bielsa will need at least five quality signings to ensure Premier League survival next season.

Dorigo, who spent six years at Elland Road during a career which saw him also earn 15 caps for adopted country England, doesn’t want his beloved club to suffer the same fate as Norwich City and Aston Villa - two of the three sides most recently promoted from Championship.

The Canaries are already down and Villa - Melbourne-born Dorigo’s first club in England - are in dire danger of joining them.

“Leeds will easily need to bring in four or five - especially with five subs permitted next season. We’re going to need to add a heck of depth to the squad next season,” said Dorigo.

“Teams like Manchester City and Liverpool will have several international stars sitting on their benches and right now we’re a long way from that.

“Those we do bring in are going to need to be better than what we’ve currently got.

“Of course you want to show loyalty to players who’ve got you up but it’s not like that - we need to be able to attract the best players we can to flourish at the top level.”

Dorigo, now 54, was part of the in-house Leeds TV commentary team which called the 1-0 win over Barnsley which took them to the brink of promotion.

The 2-1 loss suffered by closest rivals West Bromwich Albion to struggling Huddersfield this morning (AEST) ended 16 years of hurt and humiliation and sealed a return to the promised land for the Whites.

“There are plenty of lessons out there for us in terms of what’s happened to the likes of Norwich and Villa - but for now the Leeds fans will just be enjoying the day,” added Dorigo.

“This club has been through lot of ups and downs and for the last 16 years it’s been mainly downs.

“We’ve had 15 managers in that time, dropped to League One and faced all sorts of financial and emotional turmoil.

“But (current owner) Andrea Radrizzani has everything on an even keel now.

“He understands the club and will be doing his damndest to make sure we don’t become a yo-yo team ... he’ll be determined to invest very wisely.

“Sadly, that’s something you haven’t seen so much at Villa - and their predicament shows that just having ample funds isn’t enough. You need to spend the money well.”

Adelaide-raised Dorigo doesn’t expect idiosyncratic Argentine Bielsa to tweak or compromise his style and philosophy in any way next season.

“He’s put a blueprint in place and it’s a matter of how to keep delivering when you’re up against better teams each week,” he cautioned.

“It’s possession-based, playing out from the back, pressing high and playing at a very high tempo.

“I wasn’t convinced it was going work when he first came but it has done superbly so far.”

Dorigo says ‘El Loco’ is the “quirkiest” coach he’s encountered - and is “fascinating” to watch in action.

“He surrounds himself with a staff who run around like blue-assed flies - jumping to attention every time he demands something,” he continued.

“He has a deep belief in what he does and I think as a player it’s very important to have a manager so strong in his convictions.

“He’s very demanding and expects everything from his players. Even during lockdown they were training six days a week.

“Every morning they had to log all the details ... their fat percentages, their weights, you name it.

“A delivery truck came around with all the equipment they needed and he was planning all this in January and February, well before the official lockdown happened.

“This is a guy who is meticulous in every detail. He’s unique and I think he has an empathy which you don’t see very often in football.

“He’s here at Leeds doing exactly what he wants. He’s not thinking about going on to the next job as many managers do.

“He’s just doing this for pure enjoyment and the love of project.”

Dorigo sees the Premier League as basically five mini leagues wrapped up in one entity - and Leeds will need to find their niche within that milieu.

“Previously they were maybe three levels - the upper, middle and lower rungs but maybe now there are even five,” he mused.

“But Bielsa won’t change what he’s doing whether we’re playing in Timbuktu or Mars.

"It’s just a matter of how effective it will be in the Premier League and will we have the players to make sure it clicks?”

Dorigo is optimistic cash will be found to deliver stability and durability among the elite.

“You look at the top four or five clubs and they’re all backed by billionaires - not millionaires,” he said.

“Andrea is wealthy and has invested hugely in the club and it’s a gamble because you look at the balance sheets of a lot of Championship teams and they’re losing a lot of money.

“There’s been lots of talk about various parties looking at Leeds, whether that’s a takeover or in partnership with Andrea and he’s always said he’s open to listening to anything.

“We’ve already sold 10 per cent to the San Francisco 49ers, so there’s a huge organisation there that already has an interest.

“And there’s also been confirmed interest from potential investors from Qatar. So you’re looking around and seeing some big hitters seemingly prepared to back the club.

“I don’t know how or when but I think the options could be there.”