Okay, it took longer than everyone would have liked, but it appears that Andrea Radrizzani, Victor Orta, and the rest of the footballing staff finally made a decision on who to hire as manager for United. Thomas Christiansen is now the “head coach” at Leeds United, which means that the new Director of Football is going to be the one to find the players that Christiansen will play on the pitch. Americans are familiar with this concept, as most North Americans sports leagues have a “General Manager” who is tasked to sign the players for the team to use. Of course, in England it is usually the team’s manager who finds the players that he wants and decides how they will be used on the pitch. So while Christiansen will have input on the kinds of players, or maybe even certain players he might want to have in the team, Orta will be the one to sign players.
So Mr Orta, if you’re reading this (which he’s not, let’s be honest here, but hey, a blogger can dream, can’t he?) please sign another striker. A good one too.
Chris Wood says he has no plans to leave Leeds next season and is looking forward to working with new boss Thomas Christiansen. #lufc— Pete O'Rourke (@SportsPeteO) June 16, 2017
Last year, Chris Wood had a career year, scoring 30 goals in all competitions. And while his breakout season has excited Leeds fans to see what he can do for an encore, relying on a single attacker to supply all of the goals for a team that is hoping for promotion is folly. Leeds needs another striker.
It appears that Christiansen favors a two striker system from his lineups at APOEL, and even if the new coach adopts the 4-2-3-1 that is so much in fashion in football these days, Wood can’t be relied upon to play every game. And if Wood, god forbid, was to get injured, Leeds would pretty much be forced to kiss their promotion chances good-bye.
Orta brought in Alvaro Negredo to Middlesbrough last season in an attempt to bring a proven goal-scorer to keep Boro in the Premier League, but the big Spaniard was unable to score enough goals to keep Aitor Karanka’s men up. Orta needs to dip into the transfer market once again in the summer transfer window to attract another attacker to Elland Road. Finding a proven goal scorer at the Championship level would do wonders to boost the chances of Leeds in the upcoming season.
Preston North End’s Jordan Hugill would be an example of a good signing for Leeds this summer. The 25 year old forward scored 13 goals in 47 appearances for Preston last season, and is a proven player who could be grabbed for a reasonable transfer fee. Preston has reportedly rejected transfer offers from both Ipswich Town and Wolverhampton for Hugill, but money always talks in football. Both of the rejected offers were for £2 million, but a larger fee of between £2.5 to £3 million would turn many heads. Considering that Scott Hogan transferred from Brentford to Aston Villa for a reported £15 million fee, £3 million for Hugill seems like a bargain.
Alternatively, Leeds could go after someone like West Ham United’s Ashley Fletcher, who the club were allegedly interested in bringing in on loan during the January transfer window last season. Leigh Griffiths of Celtic FC has also been linked to Leeds, but his recent performance against England might price him out of a move to Elland Road.
While Orta went for loan deals to keep Boro in the Premier League, finding young players is a much better policy. Sevilla, where Orta cut his teeth, made European finals and high finishes in La Liga using a policy of finding young talent and polishing that talent into finished products, not just signing loan deals in a desperate attempt to stay in the top division. Radrizzani has said that he intends on investing in the academy and in the youth system at Leeds, so the pressure on Orta to find an overpriced has-been will hopefully be low. Either way, Leeds needs a new striker to support or give a rest to Chris Wood.