By Josh Barker Published: August 27, 2021 4:00 pm
Last Updated: August 27, 2021 4:04 pm
Leeds under Bielsa It is fair to say that Leeds United marked their long-awaited return to the Premier League with a bang.
The Whites played some exciting, free-flowing football under the tutelage of Marcelo Bielsa.
And whilst their defence did sometimes suffer for this, Leeds became the side to watch in the Premier League for neutrals. They were also still able to finish up in 9th place in the league – just three points off 7th spot.
So, with Bielsa signed on for another year and all the momentum behind them, Leeds fans were no doubt hopeful of a big summer window to help them go and push for a European place this time around.
To date, though, the Peacocks have not had the most exciting of transfer windows.
Jack Harrison was signed permanently from Manchester City, but he was already at Ellan Road on loan last season.
Leeds United’s Jack Harrison celebrates scoring a goal that is caught offside during the Premier League match at Elland Road, Leeds. Picture date: Sunday May 23, 2021. (Photo by Lynne Cameron/PA Images via Getty Images)
Elsewhere, Junior Firpo was brought in after left-backs Ezgjan Alioski and Barry Douglas departed over the summer, whilst Kristoffer Klaesson has been signed as a back-up goalkeeper.
This, with less than a week left of the summer window, has left Leeds with a fairly similar squad to the one they had last year.
And, whilst Bielsa can often get the very best out of some fairly average players, the Yorkshire outfit’s squad, on the whole, is somewhat lacking in quality depth.
So, 101 have taken a look at five players who could help strengthen Leeds this year.
Moses Simon, Nantes One area Leeds are lacking a fair bit of quality depth in is at left-wing.
Jack Harrison is a great option to have and he has seriously impressed in a Leeds shirt to date.
But outside of the Englishman, there are not a lot of standout options currently on Leeds’ books.
One player who could change that is Moses Simon of Nantes. On paper, the Nigerian seems like he would be a great fit for Bielsa’s Leeds.
The 26-year-old is very quick, great with the ball at his feet and he is versatile.
Simon would score six and assist five in the league last term and he has had a very impressive start to 2021/22 – notching three assists in three Ligue 1 ties.
Simon is a left-winger by trade, which would make him a very solid back-up to Harrison. But he can also do a solid job when deployed as centre-forward as well.
Gaetan Laborde, Montpellier Centre-forward is also another area Leeds could probably do with adding some quality depth in.
Rodrigo did appear to have been signed for this last summer, but he has struggled to find his feet in England and is now generally used behind the main striker.
Elsewhere, Joe Gelhardt is a promising 19-year-old, but he is not sufficient back-up to Patrick Bamford, whilst Tyler Roberts just isn’t at the desired level – especially if Leeds want to start fighting for European football.
One man who could be is Gaetan Laborde, who currently plays in France for Montpellier.
The 27-year-old would have a superb 2020/21, netting 16 and assisting eight in 38 league ties.
He has also started this campaign with a bang, scoring two in three for the French side.
And, like Simon, Laborde is a versatile option. He is a natural centre-forward, but he is also very capable of lining out on the right-wing, which is what he has done so far this season.
Lloyd Kelly, Bournemouth As well as left-wing and centre-forward, left-back is probably the area that Leeds lack the most depth in.
As already mentioned, Firpo would be signed from Barcelona after Alioski and Douglas departed.
But the Spaniard is now Leeds’ only out and out left-back. So, Leeds should try and target Bournemouth’s Lloyd Kelly to help fill this void.
The 22-year-old has limited Premier League experience, but he is good on the ball and is also more than capable of being used at centre-back as well, something Bournemouth have done with him of late after making the youngster their captain – a decision that showcases his maturity and leadership skills.
However, his more natural position is left-back and he would likely make a great option to rotate with Firpo.
Lewis O’Brien, Huddersfield Leeds United have been linked with Lewis O’Brien for some time now.
The 22-year-old is an accomplished central midfielder who Bielsa could develop into a player similar to that of Kalvin Phillips.
And, as was made clear when he was absent vs Manchester United, Leeds currently do not have a great back-up option to Phillips.
Central defender Robin Koch tried to fill that role but failed pretty badly. So, it is quite clear Leeds should try and bring in some competition for Phillips and O’Brien could be just that.
LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND – OCTOBER 17: James Rodriguez of Everton during the Premier League match between Everton and Liverpool at Goodison Park on October 17 2020 in Liverpool, England. (Photo by Emma Simpson/Everton FC via Getty Images)
James Rodriguez, Everton This last pick may be somewhat out there but it could potentially be a great buy for Leeds.
James Rodriguez would join Everton from Real Madrid last year and had a superb start to his Premier League career.
He netted six and assisted five in 23 league games in 2020/21. And whilst his form did drop off towards the end of the season, there is no doubting he is still a quality player.
And, after Carlo Ancelotti left Everton this summer, Rodriguez’s future on Merseysiders has now been called into question and he is yet to play a single minute this season.
So, as Leeds currently do not really have a natural creative central attacking midfielder on their books, could it not be worth trying to sign the Colombian on the cheap this year?
Rodriguez can also operate on the right-wing so he could provide some competition/back-up for Raphinha.
This article was edited by Josh Barker.
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