Leeds are left to pick up the pieces this week and this summer as they are facing a return to the Championship, following their limp relegation from the Premier League in May.
It means they are going to lose a number of players from their first team, potentially paving the way for some of the club’s most impressive youngsters to make their move into the senior side full-time, mainly after some strong loan spells in the EFL in 2022/23.
Which defenders will Leeds sell?
The most obvious departures from the back four for Leeds are going to be Diego Llorente and Robin Koch, with the senior centre-back pair not only have the pair not been nearly good enough, but also they will have aspirations of catching the eye at international level as Euro 2024 looms.
Pascal Struijk is another that could be sold by Leeds in the coming months, though, with Italian outlet TMW reporting that the defender’s new contract is not expected to deter any clubs from pursuing his signature, having been tied down until 2027 back in December.
This comes after Struijk has had a tough time ever since that new contract was signed, struggling since his move to centre-back, after doing incredibly well earlier in the season when he played on the left side of defence.
Should Leeds sell Struijk to make way for Hjelde?
It’s safe to say Struijk’s time as a Premier League player for Leeds ended in calamitous circumstances, at fault for the first two goals as he first failed to track Heung-Min Son for 1-0, before a simple pass squirmed past his foot to allow Pedro Porro in for 2-0 on Sunday.
With the report above revealing the Dutchman is likely to be subject to interest regardless of his new deal, it leaves Leeds with the chance to cash in, and they need to be considering it.
Not only has Strujik’s form dropped off a cliff, but it has coincided with the emergence of Leo Hjelde as a real option for the Championship next season, after his immense loan stint at Rotherham in the second half of the season.
Will Leeds get promoted in 2023/24?
Hjelde joined the Millers just a point clear of the relegation zone, making an instant impact to help the newly-promoted side to five points in his first three games, including a sensational 4-0 home win against Blackburn where he teed up the first goal from left-back with a brilliant cross.
In his time under Matt Taylor, Hjelde made 13 league appearances and kept five clean sheets – a strong effort for a side that ended the season in 19th, but six points clear of the drop by the end of the campaign.
Rotherham Advertiser’s Paul Davis shared this insight on the player, believing he’s a Premier League player in waiting, based on his stint at the New York Stadium, as he said this earlier in the season:
“My general impression is that Rotherham United in the Championship have got a player of Premier League talent. We expected big things because he was coming from Leeds United and we’ve not been disappointed. It’s very easy to forget he is only 19, he plays with a real maturity about him.
“He’s going to be a Premier League player down the line, he’s already a quality Championship player.”Leeds Live
If the offers come in for Struijk, Leeds shouldn’t be hesitating, knowing that they have someone with potentially a higher ceiling ready and waiting for more opportunities, and in a better side than Rotherham, he’ll shine more.