Jesse Marsch insists absence of salary cap denies Leeds opportunity to compete for trophies

Jesse Marsch has complained that the absence of salary caps in European football means that most teams do not have a chance of competing for honours – unlike in American sports.

The American’s relegation-threatened Leeds United side visit title-chasing Newcastle on Saturday and while Marsch is an admirer of Eddie Howe, he believes the Englishman’s job has been made easier because of the funds he has had available.

Newcastle have spent more than £200 million in 2022 to bring in players such as club record buy Alexander Isak, Brazil midfielder Bruno Guimaraes, Dutch defender Sven Botman and England internationals Kieran Trippier and Nick Pope, even if much of their improvement comes from players Howe inherited.

Marsch, whose own spending of around £100 million was offset as Leeds recouped a similar amount for Kalvin Phillips and Raphinha, feels his real rivals are the sides in the bottom half of the table as he thinks money dictates finishing positions.

He said: “We all know in this world of football it’s something that’s different from American sports. We have salary caps and everyone has a chance when the season starts. I’m sorry, but the way European football works that’s just not the case.

“I would love to say we want to win every match and we are in a position to do that. But we know we are in the reality of who we are right now that that is not realistic.

“I know we are tasked in this league to compete with teams such as Man City, Chelsea, Liverpool, but our true competitors are the mid-table, bottom-of-the-table teams and now [we have] to try to do better than we have done against them.

“That’s the reality and there’s a bunch of us in this same category and it’s not just about money, but certainly it’s a factor.

Jesse Marsch, Manager of Leeds United, acknowledges the fans (Getty Images)
Jesse Marsch, Manager of Leeds United, acknowledges the fans (Getty Images)

“There’s the history of the club, the infrastructure, player pool, playing style, manager, there’s time, a lot of different factors. But in almost any league around the world you are always going to see those teams at the top and those teams are typically the ones that spend the most.

“I don’t want to slight Newcastle at all financially, regardless they have done a great job, and it can make things easier, but that’s not the only job.”

Marsch feels his task is very different to Howe’s as Leeds cannot be transformed by a huge injection of cash.

He added: “So how do you build? One is a process and continuing to invest every penny the right way, which is what we are trying to do, and another one is a massive influx of money.

“Take Chelsea 25 years ago, take Newcastle now, take Man City 15 years ago. It’s a difference-maker and it’s for every phase of what you are doing as a club: manager, players, everything.

“But we like us. We like who we are, we like our identity, we like the mentality that we have created and we like us. We are going to keep building in our own way.”