Saturday, December 3, 2022

Phil Hay Highlights Leeds United’s Summer Plans: Why Bielsa Must Make The Right Call Here

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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.

The 16-year wait for reclaiming the top-flight status is not over yet for Leeds United amid the COVID-19 crisis, but the Whites remain firm favourites to secure promotion. Therefore, they have a plan in place this summer in terms of transfer activities according to the reliable Phil Hay of The Athletic.

The famous West Yorkshire side are leading the Championship standings under Marcelo Bielsa. He has prevented Leeds United from falling apart despite a shambolic downfall towards the closure of the previous term. The players punched above their weight to deliver a stellar show and have earned plaudits for tenacity, determination and commitment while turning the odds in their favour.

It was an uphill task for Bielsa when he accepted the challenge as the Elland Road chief, but the veteran Argentine has now succeeded in transferring his philosophy among a group of hard-working individuals who all are desperate to achieve iconic status at this prestigious football club.

Having said that, the Premier League is a whole new ball game compared to the Championship, and the question remains whether the Whites are well equipped to meet the demand and rigour of the top-tier English game.

We all had noticed what happened to Fulham when they spent millions to reconstruct the squad following promotion a couple of years ago, and the same is being repeated by Aston Villa. The latter are struggling for existence in the Premier League despite splashing £120m last summer to rope in new names.

Marcelo Bielsa in the Leeds United dugout

Leeds United And Their Transfer Strategy

Leeds United, however, do have a specific strategy for the upcoming transfer window. Firstly, they would attempt to make the loan moves permanent for Ben White, Jack Harrison and Illan Meslier who have contributed significantly to their emergence. Also, they are obliged to sign Helder Costa and Jean-Kevin Augustin upon expiration of their loan terms. However, talks are ongoing for the latter who has rarely featured since completing a January move (from RB Leipzig) and thus might be in two minds whether he wants the switch without finding his feet in the new surroundings.

“It’s obvious that if Leeds can’t retain Ben White they’ll need another first-rate centre-back. They also have to make sure that they’re properly resourced at left-back. Manchester City’s Yan Couto, a right-sided Brazilian, is a player I’ve heard them strongly linked with.”

The above was revealed by Hay, who believes that the club would stick to the targets whom they identified before the pandemic began.

Couto, meanwhile, is set to join the Citizens in July from his boyhood club Coritiba. The Brazil U17 international is rated highly back in the homeland and might even earn senior minutes under Bielsa if a temporary move is sanctioned.

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