With the Championship pre-season beginning earlier this week, the rumours and whispers of the summer transfer window have started to echo that little bit louder. For Leeds United, this summer spells a glorious opportunity to improve a squad which came agonisingly close to gaining promotion last year. After keeping hold of manager Marcelo Bielsa, and seemingly fending off a hot pursuit of their prized possession Kalvin Phillips, Leeds are in pole position heading into the 2019/20 season. However, this squad is thin, and we saw all too well last year how a string of injuries to key players really upset their flow and damaged the White’s promotion chances. With Leeds looking to kick-start their summer and get active in the transfer window, here are a few players that Radrizzani and co. have got their eyes on.
The potential loan move for Wolverhampton Wanderers winger Helder Costa has been doing the rounds for weeks now, but a longer wait is expected before any solid news is broken on Costa’s future. After playing an instrumental role in Wolves’ promotion to the Premier League in 2018, Costa has unluckily fallen down the pecking order at Molineux and could be deemed surplus to requirements if Wolves continue to invest this summer.
The £13million price tag on Costa’s head certainly makes him an unrealistic permanent transfer for Leeds, but could be within budget for Aston Villa, who are reportedly keen on the 25-year-old. A permanent move makes more sense for Wolves too and throws a spanner in the works for Leeds’s loan offer, but perhaps Nuno Espirito Santo will want to avoid selling him to a fellow Premier League rival. We’ll have to wait and see, but don’t expect this story to die down anytime soon, as the ever-reliable Phil Hay has confirmed he’s still firmly in Leeds’s eyeline.
they’re still on with the four you know about - Costa, White, Harrison, Kent. Because they’d be loans, all dependent on wishes of other clubs and terms of deals. Buffon rumour is comedy, but you know that.— Phil Hay (@PhilHay_) June 25, 2019
22-year-old Liverpool youngster Ryan Kent is another winger who could be joining the Whites on loan this year. However, a deal to make this happen is looking more and more unlikely as re-joining Rangers is apparently his preferred move. Kent enjoyed an incredible season at Ibrox last year, winning Scottish Young Player of the Year under Steven Gerrard’s management, and it is probable that he will reunite with the Liverpool legend for another season in Scotland. After already rejecting a loan offer from Leeds, Liverpool seem to have a plan for Kent who is another player out of Leeds price range. Keep an eye on him, but don’t expect much.
Steven Gerrard confirms Rangers hope to have Liverpool's Ryan Kent - also a summer target of Leeds' - back at Ibrox next season. "Yes we would like Ryan Kent back but the reality is he's Liverpool's player so we have to respect that..." #lufc— Lee Sobot (@LeeSobotYEP) June 25, 2019
If Kent doesn’t end up in Yorkshire by the end of summer, Jamal Lowe from Portsmouth could be an alternative which makes a lot of sense. Having scored 15 League One goals last year from the wing, the £3million rated 24-year-old has alerted the attention of a flurry of Championship sides, including some of Leeds’s promotion rivals West Brom, Middlesbrough and Cardiff. Although £3million for someone who has only just started to impress in League One might be a risky bet, he is highly rated by the Pompey faithful, and would strengthen Leeds’s depth on the wing - a position identified by everyone as requiring improvement. It could be a risk, but given Lowe’s recent goalscoring record combined with a season under the magic of Bielsa, he could turn into a star at this level.
(Opinion) Leeds United needs to sign Portsmouth’s Jamal Lowe.— The 4th Official (@Official_T4O) June 18, 2019
The winger contributed with 17 goals & nine assists in over 50 games for #Pompey last season. #lufc must renew their interest for the player as he would be a natural fit under Bielsa.https://t.co/WrKt2iW9vV
It wouldn’t be a usual transfer rumour article without some ambitious and incredulous speculation, would it? However, after the ridiculous links between Leeds and Gianluigi Buffon and Francesco Totti surfacing this week, the signing of Ander Iturraspe starts to sound more believable. Spanish news outlet El Desmarque have confirmed that Iturraspe will be leaving Athletic Bilbao this summer, and many reports have suggested a reunion with his old mentor Marcelo Bielsa could be on the cards. This would be a real coup for Leeds as the Spanish international, despite only achieving five appearances in La Liga last season, should still have enough about him to dominate Championship midfields.
At only aged 30 too, he’s still got a few years left in if he manages to get over the numerous injuries that have plagued his past couple of seasons in Spain. Anyway, with reported interest from Asia and Greece, Leeds may struggle to compete financially and could fall short of meeting Iturraspe’s probably extortionate wage demands. I would be surprised if this one came off, but who knows, stranger things have happened.
Ander Iturraspe being linked with a move to Leeds United to join up with Marcelo Bielsa. The midfielder's contract was not renewed for the coming season. #lufc— Athletic Club UK (@AthleticClubUK) June 25, 2019
With this list including three potential wingers, it is clear which area of the squad the backroom staff believe needs an overhaul this summer. Perhaps this is an indication that Jack Clarke’s move to Tottenham is getting closer, and the injection of cash received from this deal could be integral to pushing through some incoming transfers in the next couple of months. The fact that Leeds are even being linked with players of Costa’s and Iturraspe’s quality shows how far this team progressed last season, and the importance of maintaining the allure of Marcelo Bielsa as Head Coach cannot be underestimated. If Leeds happen to make some big-name signings this summer, expect Bielsa to be the key attraction for these inbound stars.
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