Leeds United are facing a bit of a setback in defence as club captain Liam Cooper is out with an injury and Gaetano Berardi has looked shaky at the back. Berardi was shown a red card in the tie against Millwall, but a commission has removed his suspension for a wrongful dismissal so he should be available for selection after the international break.
Nevertheless, we think that there is a need for a centre back at the club and an injury or suspension to one or two key defenders will add more pressure on the squad. Kalvin Phillips is someone who can play at the back, but Bielsa will have to use an alternative option in his position in defensive midfield.
Last season, using the makeshift players probably cost United on a few occasions as their squad was hit with various injuries. Therefore we think that the club should learn from their past mistakes and bring in more options in January.
A defender for Bielsa to consider
To bolster their defensive options at the back, they can consider going for Leicester City’s Filip Benkovic. The Croatian defender has been rated highly, but he hasn’t been involved in any of the matchday squads at the King Power Stadium. Leeds United should look to get the 22-year-old defender on loan as he can form a strong partnership at the back.
Will Benkovic be a solid signing?
At just 22, the Foxes defensive ace has managed to gain Champions League experience while playing for Dinamo Zagreb. The defender spent the last season on loan with Scottish champions Celtic, where he was able to become a fan favourite because of his commanding performances as a defender. Many claimed that he reminded them of Virgil Van Dijk who spent two seasons at Parkhead and is now arguably one of the best defenders in the world.
Benkovic is exceptionally calm and composed on the ball, and he should fit into Bielsa’s system well due to his ability to play the ball out from the back. Benkovic stands at 6ft4, and he is understandably dominant in the air. Moreover, he reads the game well, and the best part is he is still just 22. There is no doubt to us that he could play a stellar role for the Whites in defence.
Liam Cooper might be the club captain, but he can be a bit reckless at times. Maybe someone more competent on the bench will keep him on his toes about his starting place. The partnership of Benkovic and White might look an inexperienced one, but both of them have a solid defensive game. Bielsa should look to add the Croatian in January to bring in-depth and increase competition for places within the squad.
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