Leeds United could look to sign an experienced centre back when the transfer window reopens in January.
That’s according to former Aston Villa striker Gabriel Agbonlahor, who says injuries to the likes of Diego Llorente and Robin Koch could force Leeds into the market for an extra defensive option.
Leeds’ centre back options look particularly threadbare at the minute. Koch is already out injured, while Llorente was forced off in the first half of Sunday’s defeat to Liverpool.
As a result, with it now being confirmed that the appeal against Pascal Struijk’s red card from the Liverpool game has been rejected, Liam Cooper is now the club’s only recognised available centre back for Friday night’s game with Newcastle.
For Llorente in particular, those injury problems with be a source of concern, with the Spaniard having made just 18 appearances for the club since joining last summer.
Indeed, Agbonlahor believes those issues could force Leeds to bring in yet another centre back once the window reopens at the turn of the year.
Asked about whether Llorente’s fitness struggles will be a major concern for Leeds, the ex-England international said: “100 per cent. Pascal Struijk’s may have a suspension now, Llorente’s injured. Robin Koch’s injured. They’ve only got Liam Cooper so they’re struggling in that department.
“When somebody keeps getting injured like Llorente, you know what ‘We’ve got to get more cover in here because it keeps happening’.
“Muscle injuries, as well, when you get them they keep coming. I know plenty of defenders that have had injuries like that before. Ron Vlaar at Aston Villa was similar.
“It’s definitely something Leeds will have to look at in the January transfer window. Maybe bring in an experienced defender, an older one who can fill in for the odd two or three games. I can see it happening.
“It’s just one of those things. How many players have we seen retire early? Or have injury-hit careers. It’s just your body letting you down.”
This would be an interesting one to consider for Leeds.
Despite the players they have in that position, injury problems for Llorente and Koch in particular mean the club are rarely at full strength at centre back.
The addition of an extra option in that position could therefore be useful, to avoid Leeds being too short of numbers at centre back.
However, Bielsa does seem to be a manager who prefers to work with a smaller squad, while there may be others area of the pitch for Leeds to invest their January budget, meaning there may be no guarantee of a deal for another centre back happening.