The end of the summer transfer window is upon us, and while Leeds United isn’t expected to be a big mover or shaker today, could there possibly be a few deals left up Director of Football Victor Orta’s sleeve? Or has bringing in around 15 new players this window enough turnover for the club as it seeks to push forward for an automatic promotion place?
With that in mind, let’s breakdown the various positions and see what needs exist and if Leeds appear to be poised to make any move to address those needs.
If there was one position at the end of last season that most Leeds fans were fairly comfortable with, it was likely the keeper position. Leeds had an established, veteran number one in former England international Rob Green, and while he wasn’t getting any younger, he showed no signs of slowing down. Additionally, the club had Marco Silvestri, who had been the starter before, waiting in the wings and young prospect Bailey Peacock-Farrell.
So it comes as a bit of a surprise that on the last day of the transfer window that Leeds would only have Bailey Peacock-Farrell left from the stable of keepers that the club started the summer with. Marco Silvestri got a move back to Italy with Serie A side Hellas Verona during preseason, and Rob Green left for Huddersfield Town after losing his starting job to Felix Wiedwald from Werder Bremen.
And here’s the crazy thing: Fans are okay with this move. Wiedwald might give us a few heart attacks at times, but his distribution out of the back and comfort with the ball at his feet are light-years ahead of Green, and with the way that Leeds are currently playing football under Thomas Christiansen, Wiedwald is absolutely the correct choice.
And while it’s taken a bit to get to this point, there is almost no chance that any moves will be made to bring in a new goalkeeper. Peacock-Farrell was recalled from a possible loan move to Oldham Athletic before preseason, so if any deals are to be made, he’ll be the one to move.
The defence, especially centre-back, was seen as weak point going into the preseason, with the only transfer of note being Pontus Jansson’s loan deal from Torino FC being made permanent. Since then, Giuseppe Bellusci has come and gone, and Matthew Pennington has joined on loan from Everton. And while Pennington showed what all of the fuss was about in his preseason match against Oxford United and during the opening fixture of the season against Bolton Wanderers, what no one could have expected was the play of Liam Cooper and Conor Shaughnessy. Both have played brilliantly at times this season, and even with Pennington injured, it’s been reported that Christiansen feels comfortable with the central defenders currently at the club.
The fullbacks were another work in progress. Luke Ayling and Gaetano Berardi were left on the roster from last season, and while Berardi filled in brilliantly at left-back, both are right-backs by trade. The club went out and signed ex-Newcastle defender-midfielder Vurnon Anita and Manchester United loanee Cameron Borthwick-Jackson in the off-season, so don’t expect any new faces here either.
Leeds might get another central defender at the deadline, but that would only be if Orta and Christiansen either felt that Pennington’s injury was more serious than they have let on or if a good deal fell into their lap, as it appears they aren’t looking at another defensive target.
The addition of Mateusz Klich from FC Twente was one of the first transfers to go through under the new management of Victor Orta, and with all of the attention being given to the more attacking players, he’s been a bit of a forgotten addition. He was apparently good enough to allow last year’s captain, Liam Bridcutt, to move on to Nottingham Forest. In addition to Klich, the club also has Ronaldo Vieira, Kalvin Phillips and a rejuvenated Eunan O’Kane in the middle of the pitch. It’s doubtful that another central midfielder would find his way to the club at this point in time.
Samuel Saiz:— bet365 (@bet365) August 22, 2017
⏱ 5 games
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Most of the new signings that Orta has brought into the club have been for the attacking side of the ball, and they have been absolute class. Gjanni Alioski and Samu Saiz have been as good as advertised since coming in, and Pablo Hernandez has looked great this so far this season. Stuart Dallas just signed a new deal at the club, and Kemar Roofe is looking to either cement his place as a starter on the wing or as the striker, where he should be given a chance. Liverpool Academy product Madger Gomes, originally seemed destined for the U23s, has even seen time on the wing after a good showing in preseason. The only negative has been the play of Hadi Sacko, who hasn’t been seen since the second game of the season.
Look for Sacko to possibly leave on loan, but a new face would be unlikely. However, it seems that Orta likes to hoard wingers, so a new one could possibly be a surprise addition.
Most fans will be looking for a new striker to join the club, with Chris Wood and his 30 goals leaving the club for the Premier League and Burnley. The club also let Marcus Antonsson go on loan to Blackburn Rovers, and released Souleymane Doukara so that he could join Turkish side Osmanlispor. Right now Kemar Roofe is the only fit player on the roster who has played any extended period of time at striker, and while he might deserve a chance to prove himself as the man to replace Wood, the club is still looking to add some more options. Caleb Ekuban joined the club from Chievo Verona earlier in the year, but he’s injured and potentially out for awhile.
Jay-Roy Grot joined the club from NEC in the Netherlands, and while he’s young, he’s a very physically imposing player and should adapt well to the Championship. He can also play on the wing, giving Christiansen some flexibility in determining his lineups.
As of this writing, two potential signings are all but officially announced by the club, with Pawel Cibicki joining on a permanent deal from Malmo, and Pierre-Michel Lasogga joining on loan from Hamburger SV in the Bundesliga. Both deals have been discussed many times other places, and unless there is a shocking development, both will likely be wearing Leeds colours the next time the team takes the pitch.
Of course, with the funds from the Wood sale still not invested in a proven striker, if any position is due for an upgrade today, it would be at striker. The club has been rumored to be in for a number of strikers, and while it would make a lot of fans feel more comfortable for a Dwight Gayle or Jordan Rhodes to join the club, Orta may choose to bring in someone from overseas or sit and wait with what he’s already got.
So while most of the transfer drama has already been completed for Leeds, it still remains a possibility that a deadline deal or two might pop up today. Check back and see what is going on during the day and into the night as the 11 PM deadline approaches.