Wednesday, February 8, 2023

Leeds United Lose Battle For Arsenal Bound Attacker: Big Blow for Bielsa?

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Pratyay Maitra
A sports enthusiast in his mid-twenties who reads, breathes, as well as dreams (mostly) about football and attempts to share his views with the fanatics by jotting it down. Prefers to learn through extensive interaction, communication and exploration. So don't be in a quandary and SHOOT.

Leeds United have emerged as prime promotion contenders under Marcelo Bielsa’s tutelage. The iconic Argentine has transformed their game, injected a headstrong attitude and introduced a winning mentality within the squad. He has banked on the youth over significant transfers, and the change in approach has worked out so far in favour of the Whites.

However, the club have now been dealt a big blow in the transfer market as they fail in roping in Brazilian wonderkid Gabriel Martinelli who is set to join Arsenal soon. This piece of news is according to a report from Daily Mail. The 17-year-old Ituano sensation was being monitored by multiple high-profile outfits across the globe, but the Gunners seem to have won the race beating 25 other clubs according to Yahoo Esporte.

Leeds United, among the others, were chasing the starlet as he would have been a proper fit in Bielsa’s football philosophy and transfer strategy. Martinelli is currently making strides in Brazil’s Fourth Division having notched ten goals in 31 outings for the Sao Paulo-based outfit.

The youngster has exhibited an exquisite skillset while operating down the left wing as well as in an attacking midfield role. He is also capable of featuring as a second striker, and the versatility in his game would have helped him to execute Bielsa’s gameplan within a couple of years.

The Whites are highly reliant on their Spanish wizard Pablo Hernandez – the 33-year-old playmaker who has been astounding so far this term and guided Leeds in grinding out results. But a player approaching his mid-thirties won’t be able to deal with the demand of English calendar for long and a talent like Martinelli could have been the Spaniard’s successor for years to come.

The teenager had a trial at Manchester United a couple of years back, but a transfer failed to materialise which, in turn, alerted many other suitors who were keeping close tabs on his progress. The Selecao prodigy continued his hard work and impressed enough to earn such a high-profile European transfer this early in his career.

Although the Gunners are lauded for promoting the youth players, joining Leeds would have been a wiser move for Martinelli considering the transition that is undergoing at the Elland Road. A squad revamp might be a necessity in order to retain a top-flight existence but, at the same time, the project at Leeds is indeed constructive as well as ambitious after years of turmoil.

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