So Leeds United have signed 11 players over the summer. 11. Like an entirely new starting 11.
And yet we waited until transfer deadline day for Massimo Cellino to sign someone who might add something we haven't seen in recent seasons. Eunan O'Kane was part of the Bournemouth side that won promotion to the Premier League and helped them stay there. Our best player last season, aside from Lewis Cook (pour one out), was Liam Bridcutt.
O'Kane and Bridcutt together in front of the back four might actually help us keep clean sheets. What a time to be alive.
Here's what I said about O'Kane before the signing was confirmed:
O'Kane is a decent central midfielder in the Neil Kilkenny mould. He's an absolute engine and really allows the more attacking players in a side to get forward. The best example of this was the year Bournemouth went up. His play in the middle of the park, especially when deployed in front of the back four allowed the likes of Harry Arter and Matt Ritchie to get forward. If we do sign him, and Garry Monk persists with Pablo Hernandez, O'Kane could be the man to allow him to flourish. Or he could be used to cover the void left by Lewis Cook and allow Mowatt to rediscover the form that saw some sublime goals during the 14/15 season. Either way, he's tailor-made for Leeds United and we should be seriously considering him if Eddie Howe is serious about allowing him to leave.
It's been painfully obvious for anyone who has seen Leeds this season that protecting the back four and tracking runners from midfield has been an enormous problem. O'Kane takes no prisoners, and when you try to run past the Irishman on a football pitch, you get one thing: put on your arse.
With two proper defensive midfielders playing in front of the back four and taking the defensive pressure off Pablo Hernandez and Alex Mowatt, Leeds United might start scoring goals. Imagine, goals from midfield. Dear God the possibilities!
O'Kane's biggest problem is a lack of games recently because of injuries and he only played 16 times last season. The impressive stat that comes from that is that he still managed 19 attempted tackles in the 752 minutes he played. With the amount of action he's going to see at the heart of the Leeds midfield, I can safely assume that he's going to up those numbers.
He has 80 interceptions in 64 games since the 2013/14 season, 67 clearances, 48 blocks and has been fouled more than he fouls. He's the type of midfielder that we've needed for years. Kemar Roofe hasn't been given the chance he probably deserves and if you have two guys in O'Kane and Bridcutt taking over the defensive stuff, Roofe, Mowatt and Antonsson will be banging them in. It may be time to change formation away from that strict four four two, but if it allows us to use our attacking players in an attacking way it's a change that needs to be made.
Excited about this move. Let me know what you think of Eunan O'Kane in the comments and on Twitter. MOT