Sunday, June 26, 2022

Leeds United Set Sights On Manchester City Starlet As Gvardiol Alternative: Right 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 Leeds Live, Leeds United are eyeing a move for Tosin Adarabioyo. The Manchester City youngster has been identified as a potential alternative for the club’s prime defensive target, Josko Gvardiol, whose potential deal to Elland Road has reportedly collapsed. Adarabioyo, meanwhile, is tipped to leave Etihad after rejecting a contract extension offer from Manchester City.

Who Is Tosin Adarabioyo?

A centre-back by trade, Adarabioyo is a product of the Manchester City youth academy, having been part of the side since 2003. He earned his professional contract with the club back in 2017 but had to spend two back to back loan spells at West Brom (2018) and Blackburn Rovers (2019).

Despite making just eight competitive appearances for Manchester City, Adarabioyo is coming on the back of an impressive loan spell at Blackburn last season. He became a key component in the club’s defensive backline, forming a formidable partnership alongside Darragh Lenihan.

Overall, the 22-year-old notched up 34 league appearances for Blackburn. His defensive contributions were critical as the Riversiders finished inside the first half of the league table last season.

What Can He Bring To The Table?

Standing at 1.95m, Adarabioyo is primarily known for his imposing presence at the back. It makes him quite an obstacle in physical and aerial duels, with the defender notably winning 3.2 headed duels per game with a success rate of almost 70%.

Leeds United are eyeing a move for Tosin Adarabioyo - One for the future?
LONDON, ENGLAND – APRIL 06: Tosin Adarabioyo of West Bromwich Albion looks on prior to the Sky Bet Championship match between Millwall and West Bromwich Albion at The Den on April 06, 2019 in London, England. (Photo by Harriet Lander/Getty Images)

The Manchester City youngster can also be described as a “mentality monster”. He is extremely courageous and is never afraid to commit himself into tackles. At the same time, however, Adarabioyo is disciplined enough to not only keep up with his markers but also provide a sense of solidity and calmness at the back.

However, what makes the 22-year-old such a highly rated prospect is his ability to win back possession for his team. Boasting remarkable aggression and tenacity, Adarabioyo, using his phenomenal physical prowess, can easily outmuscle any ball-carrier and effectively create a turnover in the defensive third or even in the middle third of the pitch.

Should Leeds United Make A Move For Adarabioyo?

Leeds United require defensive reinforcements as they lack the services of a reliable alternative for the duo of Liam Cooper and Robin Koch. Pascal Struijk is exceptionally talented but needs time and experience to settle into the Premier League, although the same can be said for Adarabioyo as well.

However, unlike Struijk, the Man City starlet has been playing in professional football for a few years, having already notched up 63 appearances in the Championship. More importantly, the defender’s aggression, physicality and mental strength make him a tailor-made fit for Marcelo Bielsa’s tactical philosophy.

Indeed, Adarabioyo can provide excellent cover for someone like Cooper, and his robust style of play should combine well with Koch’s more technical oriented passing game. He is unlikely to cost a fortune either, making him a smart, cost-effective, long-term investment for the Whites.

Stat courtesy: Whoscored

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