Leeds United’s quest for new signings in the summer could take them to the continent once again, but there are viable options in the EFL.
Marcelo Bielsa has proven that he can take players from the Championship and transform them into dependable players in the Premier League.
All but three of Bielsa’s starting lineup against Sheffield United last time out were present at the club when he took charge of his first game against Stoke City in August 2018.
Additions of top-drawer players from teams in Europe’s other elite leagues has helped raise the standard at Elland Road, and more signings are going to be made in the summer to help strengthen once again.
Bielsa’s left-back predicament
Barry Douglas was signed in 2018 and instantly assumed to be the solution to all of Leeds’ problems at left-back, but the club’s willingness to let him leave for Blackburn on loan shows he was surplus to requirements.
It’s the position that has been the most unsettled under Bielsa since he arrived and only Stuart Dallas has shown any consistency there, but how long can we rely on a versatile midfielder to play there?
Gjanni Alioski’s contract is up in the summer and with barely any noise on that front coming out, it would seem he’s on his way out of the club.
The fact Alioski is just edging towards a free transfer suggests Leeds are definitely going in for a left-back and The Athletic’s Phil Hay strengthens that case.
Said report links Leeds to Romain Perraud from the French Ligue 1 and for good reason, but there is still quality that can be had from the ‘cream of the Championship’.
Round two of the Brentford raid
Ollie Watkins and Said Benrahma may have passed Leeds by last summer and joined Premier League rivals but the Bees might not make it to the top-flight once again, and they’ll be ripe for the picking.
One player shining in their side in the past few seasons has been Rico Henry at left-back.
The 23-year-old is a guaranteed starter under Thomas Frank but hasn’t featured since mid-February due to a hamstring injury, while the Bees have won just three from eight in his time on the sidelines.
The Sun reported back in August that Leeds were one of a handful of clubs taking a keen interest in Henry after Brentford’s 2020 play-off heartbreak, and they could be in for the same fate again.
Now, the Evening Standard are now claiming that Southampton are very interested in signing Henry from Brentford, with the fee needed to prise him from the Championship outfit around £12-15million.
Red alert at Leeds?
Transfer speculation of this sort should be getting the attention of Leeds, knowing exactly what Henry can do after seeing him in the Championship.
We need a left-back that can both defend competently and attack as well, and playing in that Brentford team is proof he can do it as well as the full-backs we have.
When we clinched promotion, the Bees were neck and neck with us on goal scoring and defensive records, where he was an ever-present.
Leeds have much more to offer in the way of guaranteed minutes in the league next season and could easily beat Southampton to this signing.
Victor Orta will have his targets and scouts will be searching the whole of Europe for viable options, but there’s no reason why Henry couldn’t be part of that shortlist.