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A look into Lewis Baker’s come-up

How did Bielsa’s first signing get to this point

Fulham v Middlesbrough - Sky Bet Championship Photo by Ker Robertson/Getty Images

Boom! Would you look at that, Leeds United are bringing in Premier League players now that Marcelo Bielsa has taken the helm at Leeds. Yesterday it was announced that Lewis Baker from Chelsea signed for Leeds on a one year loan deal. It’ll be a very important year for Baker, as the midfielder went from being the top scorer on a Vitesse side that would win its first ever trophy, to riding the pine at Middlesbrough. Baker will be looking to turn both his fortune around, as well as help turning Leeds around as well.

So who is Lewis Baker? Born in Luton, Baker played for the Hatters Youth Club for a year before becoming joining Chelsea’s team. Working his way up through the Blues, Baker made his pro debut as a sub for Oscar during the FA Cup against Derby County in January 2014. Baker continues to shine as a kid, earning high praise from ex-coach José Mourinho.

In 2015 Baker joined the ranks of Chelsea’s loan army, going out on loan to Sheffield Wednesday in early January. He’d spend a month at the Owls before being recalled by Chelsea, being loaned to Milton Keynes Dons till the end of the season shortly after. He shone with the Dons, with manager Karl Robinson saying he’s one of the hardest workers he’s ever worked with. MK Dons earned promotion that year, finishing Runners-Up in League One.

His loan journey would continue outside of England, as Baker joined Dutch side Vitesse Arnhem. During his time with Vitas, Baker continued to show his potential as he became a key part to the side. In a game against N.E.C. Baker created a record 9 chances in a single game, but Vitesse would would still end up losing 2-1. His loan at Vitesse would be extended another year, giving Baker another year to develop. The Guardian named Baker as one of 10 rising stars to watch in 2017, and Baker delivered. He’d to on to make 39 appearances for Vitesse that year, scoring 15 goals and bagging 7 assist across all competitions. His 5 goals in 6 matches during the KNVB Cup was the most scored during the Cup, and Baker played in the final which saw out Vitesse as winners and giving them a title for the the first time in its 125-year history.

Baker signed a new five-year deal with Chelsea last August, and went immediately out on loan to Middlesbrough. As most know, this spell didn’t end well. Garry Monk gave Baker at least some playing time, but after his dismissal and hiring of Tony Pulis, Lewis Baker would only play two more times, ending the season with 14 appearances in all competitions.

Sparta Rotterdam vs Vitesse Arnhem - Cup Semifinal Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images

While all this has been going on, Lewis Baker has also been a part of the England Youth National team set up. Since 2011, Baker has played for the u17, u19, u20, and u21s for England. He’s on the right path but if England doesn’t work out, Baker also has Jamaican heritage so watch out Reggae Boyz fans. In 2016 Baker was a part of the England squad at the Toulon tournament, scoring four goals and earning the Golden Boot award.

Lewis Baker is someone Leeds fans should be excited about. He possesses a lot of qualities that Marcelo Bielsa has to love, and he’s hungry to prove his worth. I think he can learn a lot not only from Bielsa, but Pablo Hernandez too. At 23, he’s someone who still can improve a lot. For the market value fans, Baker’s £5.50M is only behind big Pontus Jansson’s £6M as most valuable. If last season’s loan at Middlesbrough has you a little weary, check out the goals he scored at Vitesse, courtesy of FFDTV!