It is safe to say that Felix Wiedwald’s move from Werder Bremen has not gone as planned. Despite a positive run that included four consecutive clean sheets early in the season, Wiedwald’s play of late has been dreadful, and he has been dropped from the starting lineup in favor of youngster Bailey Peacock-Farrell. So who should The Whites consider acquiring for a potential promotion run next season? Here are some interesting options.
Chris Maxwell - Preston North End
Leeds United fans may remember Maxwell, age 27, from the August 12th match-up in which Maxwell denied Chris Wood on a break away attempt and single-handedly won 10-man Preston a point. Maxwell had a successful four-year stint with Fleetwood Town in League One, starting 110 matches, before transferring to Preston on a free transfer. With Preston, he has been solid this season, allowing an impressive 28 goals in 29 matches, along with 12 clean sheets. Maxwell is relatively cheap as well, valued at €500,000 by transfermarkt.com. He is no superstar, but the Preston ‘keeper would certainly prove to be an upgrade in a position that is one of Leeds’ biggest needs. He was also recently called into the Wales squad by Ryan Giggs, a reflection of his form this season for Preston.
Andre Blake - Philadelphia Union
Andre Blake has been one of, if not the best, goalkeeper in the MLS for the last few seasons. He is a large goalie, standing at 6’4”, but also has quick reflexes not normally found in goalies as tall as Blake. His height gives him an long range, and an incredible diving ability, as seen in this highlight. Since becoming the Union’s starter in 2016, Blake has been named to two MLS All-Star games, and was awarded the Goalie of the Year Award in 2016, while also earning a spot in the MLS Best XI in 2016. Blake has also had a successful international career, with 31 caps for Jamaica, and won the Golden Glove award for the 2017 Concacaf Gold Cup. Transfermarkt.com values Blake at €800,000, but in reality, it would likely take at least €1,500,000 to convince the Union to part with him. Blake would be an expensive commodity, but he would be well worth it. The only issue would be a work permit for the Jamaica international, but if that issue could be resolved, he would be a fantastic option for Leeds.
Daniel Bentley - Brentford
At 24 years of age, Daniel Bentley is a rising star out of Southend United’s academy, and is the best long term option on this list. In the 2014-15 season, he took League Two by storm when he earned a remarkable 21 clean sheets in 45 matches, as well as being named to the League Two Team of the Season. He moved to Brentford on a free transfer before the 2016-17 season, and has been a mainstay ever since, with 83 appearances to date. Bentley is a skinny and agile, and has rapidly been moving through the levels of the Football League. He is adept at positioning, especially during breakaways and close-range shots. He has also shown to have very quick reflexes, allowing him to save shots that some goaltenders would be unable to reach. Because of his age and skill set, transfermarkt.com values him at €1,500,000, an expensive price, but one that would be worth it if Leeds was able to lock him up on a long contract. Additionally, if his abilities continue to grow as he enters his prime, Bentley could be sold in a few years’ time to a larger club for a profit.