Unfortunately last night was another frustrating transfer deadline day for Leeds United fans as the much anticipated signing of Dan James from Swansea fell through in the last moments. With the deal all but signed James had been waiting at Elland Road to be revealed as a Leeds United player having completed a medical at Thorp Arch earlier in the day. But with the 11pm deadline approaching Swansea stopped responding to communications and as the clock ticked passed the deadline the transfer window closed.
With no deal sheet submitted the transfer was off and James had to return to South Wales, surely frustrated at the way Swansea had behaved. James had been Bielsa’s number one target for the window, a winger had been identified as a key area to strengthen after the departures of Samu Saiz and Lewis Baker but it was not to be despite the clubs best efforts. Chairman Andrea Radrizzani took to Twitter to express his disappointment;
I am very disappointed like all of LUFC fans, we did all we could and accepted all requests... but you always need two parties to agree to make a deal and we always had one single target player, no one else. We move on and keep fighting in our next 17 finals #MOT
But the window has not all been bad with a couple of good signings. First was 32-year-old Spanish goalkeeper Kiko Casilla from Real Madrid. Casilla started his career at Real Madrid, featuring for their C and B teams before signing for Espanyol. He made his La Liga debut in 2008 but due to stiff competition from Cristian Alvarez struggled to pin down a first team place. His opportunity came in 2013 after Alvarez left Espanyol after which Casilla became the number one.
Impressive performances at Espanyol lead to a return to Real Madrid signing for €6 million on a five year contract in 2015. Understudy to Keylor Navas he saw limited first team action but did make notable appearances in the Champions League. At his time at Real Madrid Casilla picked up one La Liga (2017) winners medal and three Champions League (2016, 2017, 2018) winners medals. The signing of Thibaut Courtois from Chelsea will have pushed Casilla further down the pecking order at the Bernabeu and he is now looking forward to a new challenge in English football.
Leeds final signing of the window was Polish youngster Mateusz Bogusz from Ruch Chorzow. The seventeen-year-old number 10 will initially link up with Carlos Corberan’s table topping Under 23 side. Born in the city of Ruda Slaska in southern Poland, Bogusz started his youth career with Ruch Chorzow making his first team debut at the age of just 16. He played 34 games for Ruda Slaska scoring 6 goals and has also represented Poland at youth level, playing 23 games scoring 3 times. Bogusz is regarded as an attacking midfield playmaker often playing in the number 10 position but has also played in central midfield and as a deeper laying playmaker.
Having been offered a trial at Italian Serie A Side Napoli earlier in his career and scouted by Brighton, Bogusz is clearly a player with great potential, his performances in Poland this season have shown that At the age of only 17 he is certainly one for the future and a move to Leeds Under the mentoring of Carlos Corberan and Marcelo Bielsa seems like a great move right now. It could be a great move for Leeds United too if he fulfils his potential and with 17 games remaining of a gruelling injury riddled Championship campaign we could even make an impact on Leeds promotion push.
This has been a positive transfer window for Leeds. An experienced goalkeeper from Real Madrid who is a genuine improvement on what we had could be enough to win us a few more points this season. The signing of a top European prospect who had interest from Italian and Premier League clubs also suggest we are in a good position behind the scenes to be able to win the signatures of these kind of players. Not securing Daniel James may be a disappointment but the void could be filled by Izzy Brown who is returning to full fitness and has been scoring for the U23 side. The versatile Tyler Roberts who can play up front, number 10 or out wide could also make a big contribution filling the void left by Samu Saiz for the rest of the season.