Leeds United remain in the hunt for important reinforcements
01 Aug 2022 01:14 pm, by YorkshireSquare
Following the end of a 2021-22 that concluded with Leeds United narrowly avoiding relegation, the backing for manager Jesse Marsch couldn’t be any stronger. Practically all the signings made by Victor Orta would appear to be at the direct request of the American coach, indicating there is a solid plan based around players he had a direct hand getting.
Leeds United have also moved swiftly to close most of their business. Brenden Aaronson and Rasmus Kristensen were both signed from Red Bull Salzburg in early June, soon followed by Marc Roca from Bayern Munich. The same day Kalvin Phillips departed for Manchester City at the beginning of July, Darko Gyabi headed in the opposite direction, then Tyler Adams joined from RB Leipzig just a couple of days later.
Interesting to note is that three signings are players that Marsch already knew very well, coming from the Red Bull group of clubs, having previously worked at three of their teams. Meanwhile, the most recent signing was Luis Sinisterra from Feyenoord in the first week of July, who looks to be an excellent prospect given his performances in the Eredivisie last season.
Nevertheless, while the six deals completed will certainly bolster options in the first team squad, Leeds United still remain in the hunt for further reinforcements. One pursuit which ultimately appears to have failed is that of Charles De Ketelaere, who appears to be destined for AC Milan. In the end, the 21-year-old Club Brugge attacking midfielder preferred the San Siro rather than Elland Road.
One alternative already being touted is Hakim Ziyech at Chelsea, who AC Milan was also considering as their backup option for De Ketelaere, had their pursuit of the Belgian ended in frustration. What’s more, the 29-year-old Moroccan could be available for less than £10 million, making him a cost-effective attacking midfield option. Leeds United have apparently been keeping tabs on his current situation at Stamford Bridge.
Norwegian international Sander Berg is another midfielder being tracked, although Sheffield United won’t sell for just any price. He apparently has a release clause £35 million, although enquiries thus far have fallen far short of that valuation, amidst enquiries from both Leeds United and Newcastle United. No formal offers have been made by either Premier League club so far, while Blades boss Paul Heckingbottom is adamant he wants to keep the player.
Easily one of the most important areas Leeds United need to strengthen is in attack. Sorely missed having spent most of last season injured, Patrick Bamford remains the tip of the lance in the attacking line. Rodrigo can provide cover when required, although the Spain international is not a natural number nine, and neither is Joe Gelhardt. This means another genuine centre-forward is needed by Marsch, heading into the new season.
Right now it seems that Leeds United are keeping their options open, due to several potential targets having been rumoured of late, amidst reports circulating around two French players. 20-year-old Arnaud Kalimuendo would cost around £20 million from PSG, following two impressive loan spells at Lens, while 25-year-old Martin Terrier might be slightly more costly, having scored an impressive 21 goals in 37 Ligue 1 appearances last season.
There is also a low-cost striker option available, which could prove more appealing to Marsch as one of his previous Red Bull Salzburg pupils. 24-year-old Mergim Berisha performed well in Austria, although he seems to have struggled in Turkey with Fenerbahçe. There are claims that Leeds United have already tabled a bid of less than £2 million, making him a relatively low-risk signing, and one who already knows what the manager would expect of him.
While there appear to be plenty of loose ends when it comes to business, another challenge facing Leeds United is being tipped as relegation candidates. When looking to find top betting sites in the UK, using the latest online bookie reviews via SBO as the most reliable starting point, most have the Whites priced as likely contenders to go down. The general consensus appears to be the same, across all the safest sites rated by industry experts.
This would seem to indicate that unless maybe two or three big signings are made, Leeds United are expected to struggle again heading into the 2022-23 Premier League campaign. That being said, only time will tell if the work of Marsch and the team will be rewarded, given there is plenty of quality and reasonable depth in the quad, save for the most pressing need for another striker.