Good Morning. It's Friday 24th June, and here are the latest headlines from Elland Road...
Players to undergo vigorous health checks before returning to TA
The Leeds Utd squad return from their Summer break on Monday, and will immediately undergo vigorous health checks at Leeds Beckett's £45m state-of-the-art Sporting facilities in Headingley.
Players will be put through their paces whilst a team of experts conducts cardiac, musculoskeletal movement and asthma screenings. The performance tests include assessment of aerobic capacity, strength, power and change-of-direction ability. Blood tests will also be taken. They will then return to Thorp Arch on Tuesday where the analysis can be collated, and individual training regimes can be put into place. According to Phil Hay...
Pre-season will start this Monday morning with a day’s testing at Leeds Beckett University. Leeds have used the same academic facilities in previous Summers, and analysis of the players’ physical and mental state will set them up for training at Thorp Arch on Tuesday.
The earliest sessions Marsch has arranged are by way of preparation for their behind-closed-doors game next weekend — one of two outings planned before they fly out on a tour of Australia. The next six weeks are where he (Marsch) can address the question of what a settled team looks like and how, longer term, Leeds will play under him. This is where he should leave his mark.
Barca twist could end pursuit for Raphinha
Barcelona's pursuit of Raphinha looks to be in tatters after Ousmane Dembele told Barcelona boss Xavi he wants to remain at the Camp Nou. The 25yo winger was due to depart Catalonia at the end of the month when his contract expires, but sources have now revealed that he has had a change of heart, and is ready to sign a new contract.
Should this prove to be true, it will end months of speculation linking Barca with a move for Raphinha. Whilst this will devastate his agent Deco, it opens doors for other prospective suitors to come out of the woodwork. Chelsea and PSG were both deep in negotiations with Dembele's representatives; perhaps they will join Liverpool and Arsenal in their pursuit of the Brazilian International. This can only be a good thing for Leeds Utd - the more interest, the higher the price tag!
Mundo Deportivo journalist Gabriel Sans yesterday reported that an unnamed club (not Barcelona) had bid ‘€55m (£47.2m) plus €15m (£12.8m) in add-ons for the Leeds winger.
Potential swap deal on the cards
CBS Sports journalist Ben Jacobs has claimed that Leeds are interested in bringing 29yo Moroccan International winger Hakim Ziyech to Elland Road this Summer. Dubbed 'The Wizard' by Ajax fans during his four-year stay, could be an ideal replacement for Raphinha
Ziyech was born to a Moroccan family in Dronten, Holland, but having represented the Netherlands at U20 and U21 level, changed his allegiance. He is a creative right-winger that likes to drift infield, thread through balls and has an eye for goals. He joined Chelsea in the Summer of 2020 for €40 million, plus add-ons, penning a five-year contract. According to Jacobs, Chelsea may use Ziyech as a carrot in their hopes of landing Raphinha...
Don’t be surprised if Chelsea advance their interest (in Raphinha) by bringing Hakim Ziyech into the equation because my understanding from talking to Leeds sources separate to Raphinha is that Ziyech, has been a player on their radar.
So there might be a possibility to do some business with Raphinha coming one way and Ziyech being given to Leeds. Because Leeds don’t just want a chunk of money for Raphinha to the tune of £55 or £60 million potentially, they would love to have a ready-made replacement.
New Leeds Kit
The new Leeds Utd kit is set to be unveiled shortly. What colours/designs would you like to see Leeds play in, this forthcoming season?