Monday, September 26, 2022

Leeds United Reignite Their Interest In Bundesliga’s Defensive Ace: A Wise Choice By Bielsa?

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Jack O’Brien
A 22 y/o football nerd seeking my way into football writing. I love Irish football and also the Premier League. A huge Arsenal fan! Aside from writing, I like to spend my time fishing and drinking beer.

According to The Athletic (subscription needed), Leeds United have intensified their interest in Robin Koch. The SC Freiburg defender has once again become a hot-topic at Elland Road as the club are unlikely to succeed in their quest to sign Ben White permanently. Koch is facing an uncertain future at Freiburg with his contract expiring at the end of next season, thus putting the Whites on red alert.

What Do Leeds Need After Missing Out On White?

It is needless to mention that missing out on White could be hugely detrimental for Leeds United this summer. The Premier League new boys already lack depth in the defensive unit, with Liam Cooper being the only reliable option at centre-back.

The return of White, in that regard, would have guaranteed Marcelo Bielsa a trustworthy defensive duo, which is more than capable of dealing with the rigours of the top-flight week in week out. But with the Brighton & Hove Albion star unlikely to continue his career at Elland Road, Leeds must look for someone who can specialise in the technical aspect of the game.

With Cooper renowned for his dogged, no-nonsense style of defending, the Whites need a reliable passer, someone who can ease the transition play and help the team emphasise and retain Bielsa’s possession-based system, even in the Premier League.

Moreover, the Yorkshire outfit could also use the services of someone as versatile as White, who was capable of featuring as a holding midfielder. He, in fact, deputised for the injured Kalvin Phillips at times, during the final phase of the 2019/20 campaign.

Leeds United have intensified their interest in Robin Koch - Ben White was an indispensable.
West Bromwich Albion v Leeds United – Sky Bet Championship – The Hawthorns Leeds United s Ben White applauds the fans after the final whistle EDITORIAL USE ONLY No use with unauthorised audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or live services. Online in-match use limited to 120 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications PUBLICATIONxINxGERxSUIxAUTxONLY Copyright: xMikexEgertonx 49452592

Is Robin Koch Up For The Challenge?

The report from The Athletic suggests that Koch was of the players targeted as an alternative for White, which is indeed a wise choice by the management staff, including Victor Orta.

The Freiburg centre-back was one of the rising stars in the Bundesliga this past season. His composure on the ball, combined with his passing technique, caught the eye of the onlookers. It is backed up by statistics as well, with the defender attaining an 83% pass completion rate, which is quite impressive for a Freiburg player.

Koch, therefore, can provide the technical element to the Leeds United backline. But, what makes him such an appealing target for the Whites is his defensive prowess.

The 24-year-old is a no-nonsense defender, who doesn’t like to task risks. He also specialises in physical and aerial duels, though partly helped by an imposing 1.92m frame. Such stature at the back even helped him earn a call-up to the German national team at the end of last year.

Koch is also versatile enough to feature at holding midfield, and with his contract expiring at the end of next season, the German is not only a tailor-made replacement for White but a cost-effective one at that too.

Stat courtesy: Whoscored

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