Good Morning. It's Thursday 5th August, and here are the latest headlines from Elland Road
Leeds continue miserable pre season with double Ajax defeat
Leeds continued their miserable pre season with a 4-0 defeat against Dutch Champions Ajax. Whilst Ajax may be a formidable force in Holland, the Eredivisie League is poor, and does not even feature in the top 10 soccer leagues in the World, a list that has the US Major League in it!
The Leeds youngsters had lost 3-1 earlier in the day, though their spirited second half performance deserved a much closer scoreline. The Whites finally got a consolation with only a few minutes remaining after Max Dean was bought down in the area. He stepped up himself to put himself to reduce the deficit to two! Former Spurs man Rafael van der Vaart, now pundit praised the Dutch giants, but took a swipe at the West Yorkshire starlets on social media...
I have seen some beautiful football, Ajax are producing some top-talents again. Let’s not talk about Leeds United. They tried their best, but there’s not 1 player that impressed me this afternoon. I expected more from them, they got outplayed by 17/18 year olds.
If he wasn't impressed by Mark Jackson's youngsters, then his thoughts on the performance of the first XI are probably best kept to himself. Davy Klaassen, Ryan Gravenberch, Dusan Tadic, Daley Blind, Sebastien Haller and Steven Berghuisare were all on show for the Eredivisie Champions, though in truth, they face players of this calibre week in, week out in the Premiership!
Two goals in either half with little resistance from the Whites have hopefully sent shockwaves through the Elland Road camp as they now prepare for a much harder challenge in just over a weeks time when they visit Old Trafford! Even Bielsa is starting to show the strain. Shackleton received a terrible head injury which left him dazed and shaken and had to be taken off. A raging Bielsa could be seen berating the poor lad as he came off. We have never seen him lose control like this! Perhaps the frustrations are getting to him?
Leeds will face Villarreal on Saturday in their final pre season game.
Bid made for Argentine forward
Italian news outlet TuttoMercatoWeb have claimed that Leeds have made a bid to bring CSKA Moscow centre-forward Adolfo Gaich to Elland Road. Nicknamed 'the tank' the 22 year old Argentine was was on Victor Orta's wish list last year, but ended up at CSKA Moscow in a deal worth 8.5 million euros. Unfortunately, things have not gone well since his transfer and was loaned out to recently relegated Serie A outfit Benevento in January after just 13 games. Gaich signed a 5 year deal with the Russian Champions, and has a £25.6 million release clause in his contract.
Leeds bid for O'Brien turned down
Leeds have had a formal approach turns down buy Huddersfield for their prized asset Lewis O'Brien. The 22 year old midfielder only has a year left on his contract, though have are able to exercise a clause in his contract to extend that by another twelve months.
O'Brien has been top of Bielsa's wish list since losing out on Chelsea's Conor Gallagher who opted to stay in London and join Patrick Viera's Crystal Palace. Since the interest from Leeds, Town have slapped a £10m price tag on their star player. It is not known how much Leeds offered, but they will have to dig deeper to land the youngster. It is believed that O'Brien is keen on a move to Elland Road!
Is it time to press the panic button yet?
'Its only a friendly', 'the scoreline doesn't matter', 'it was a good run out'! Is it time to remove the blinkers, and assess why the Whites have had a torrid pre season? Leeds could have used that excuse at Ewood Park as they came from behind to grab a late draw against a very depleted Blackburn side, but as preparations have intensified, their performances have not reached a satisfactory standard!
Leeds prided themselves on having the fittest side in the Premiership last term Nine weeks later, Bielsa's squad should have maintained an advantage over their competition, yet each game does not reflect our superiority and have been littered by constant mistakes and poor passing! Yes, its only a pre-season game, but it's only a pre season game for our opposition too!