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Five potential transfer targets for Leeds United this summer

The whites need improvements after a narrow escape from relegation last season. 

Brentford v Leeds United - Premier League
Leeds fans celebrate Premier League survival - soaking in the joy ahead of a huge summer transfer window.
Photo by Alex Davidson/Getty Images

With Jesse Marsch’s side escaping the drop by the skin of their teeth with a dramatic final day win over Brentford last month, recruitment is a must this summer if the Yorkshire club are looking to push on. Having already signed USMNT midfielder Brenden Aaronson so far this summer, they are already heading in the right direction, but more work must be done to ensure next season doesn’t see Leeds ending up back in the second tier of English football.

Lewis O’Brien

Huddersfield Town v Nottingham Forest - Sky Bet Championship Play-Off Final
O’Brien was just one game away from The Premier League under Carlos Corberan.
Photo by Jon Hobley/MI News/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Having already been linked with the Huddersfield star last summer, it wouldn’t be surprising if Leeds’ long-standing interest paid off and they got their man. Huddersfield have just recently lost the Championship play-off final so O’Brien looks almost certain to leave the Terriers for the Premier League this summer, and with the club just around the corner in desperate need of midfield reinforcements, it would be of no surprise to anybody if the 23-year-old makes the move to Elland Road.

The midfielder has had an impressive year at Huddersfield, taking them on an unexpected run to the playoff final, whether that be in the holding role where he has played 16 games or the central midfield role where he spent 25 games of this season. The energetic midfielder has averaged 2.1 tackles per game this year and enjoys the defensive side of his game, something which Jesse Marsch’s side has lacked since his appointment in February of this year. With O’Brien also having a strong dribbling ability and registering 1.0 key passes per game he would be perfect for that central role behind Aaronson next season.

With reports that the Huddersfield Academy product has a £10million release clause in his contract, it wouldn’t cost much to get the midfielder to make the 36-minute journey down the M62 to Elland Road. With the player having never played a single minute in the top tier, questions will be asked about whether he is ready to make that step up. However, after watching him in the play-off final, I have no doubts that the box-to-box midfielder is ready to stamp his mark on the Premier League and hopefully that will as part of Marsch’s side.

Tyler Adams

FBL-GER-BUNDESLIGA-LEIPZIG-STUTTGART
Marsch and Tyler Adams worked together for a short period at RB Leipzig.
Photo by TOBIAS SCHWARZ/AFP via Getty Images

Leeds United are the club said to be most interested in the American midfielder this summer, and with it being a potential reunion for Marsch and the Leipzig star, you can’t help but feel that Adams would be partial to the move if an offer did come in from West Yorkshire.

Adams is primarily a defensive midfielder but has also featured at both Right back and the Right side of midfield for the German outlet this season. With the Whites potentially losing star man Kalvin Phillips to the champions Manchester City, a replacement will be a key piece of recruitment from Leeds this summer and I don’t think they need to look much further than the man Jesse Marsch once called a ‘special player’. With Marsch most likely going with a narrow formation next season, the signing of Adams would be a useful one whether hometown hero Phillips stays or makes the move.

Having already made 71 appearances under current Leeds manager Jesse Marsch, during spells at New York Red Bulls and RB Leipzig, the midfielder already knows Marsch’s style so it wouldn’t take much for the 23-year-old to fit into the system already in place at Leeds.

With the midfielder completing 1.1 tackles per game this season and having a very strong passing ability which has seen him complete 87.2% of his passes in his 36 games this season, he would add a much-needed bit of quality into a midfield which lacked exactly that all season, leading them to a dramatic final day survival.

Having already played at the top level in Germany whilst also playing 5 games in the Champions League and 3 games in the Europa League, there is no doubt that he can do it at the very top level. Getting Adams out of Leipzig, where he reportedly has a £34million release clause and would make him Leeds’s record signing, won’t be easy. However, with the added factors of former manager and fellow countryman Jesse Marsch and international teammate Brenden Aaronson already at the club, all the reasons for Adams to join the Peacocks are right in front of him. If Victor Orta puts together a strong enough deal, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Adams in a Leeds shirt come the start of the season.

Takumi Minamino

Liverpool FC v RB Salzburg: Group E - UEFA Champions League
Jesse Marsch coaxes Minamino as the then-Salzburg winger put on a stellar performance at Anfield.
Photo by Simon Stacpoole/Offside/Offside via Getty Images

Another January target, and another former Jesse Marsch player, one who is already proven in the Premier League with Liverpool and Southampton, Takumi Minamino would add some creative talent to Leeds’s front line.

The Japanese international has netted 10 times and recorded one assist in his 24 appearances in all competitions this season. With the attacking midfielder registering 1.3 shots on target per game this season, he is clearly an attacking threat whenever he puts on the famous red shirt of Liverpool. With Minamino being comfortable playing anywhere along the frontline and already playing under Marsch at Leipzig, he would be a very smart signing for Leeds and one which could help them push onto that next level.

With Sadio Mane confirming that he won’t be at Anfield next season there may be more of a role for the Japanese player, however, it is more likely that the reds will sign a replacement for Mane leaving rather than give Minamino a larger role in the squad. With the 27-year-old nearing the peak of his career it is unlikely that he will be satisfied with being a bit-part player in the squad therefore a move away from Liverpool for Minamino would not be a surprise this summer, and Leeds United should definitely be keeping tabs on his situation.

With Liverpool paying just £7.65 million pounds back in 2020, his price to get him out of Liverpool would likely be an affordable one of around £15-£20million pounds. With Leeds going into their third season in the topflight the premier league money is there for them to spend and investing in Minamino for me is a no brainer, with the previous connections with Marsch and the proven Premier League quality it would be a smart buy for Leeds this summer and one I personally hope to see before the window is over.

Rasmus Kristensen

FC Red Bull Salzburg v SK Austria Klagenfurt - Admiral Budesliga
Kristensen poses with the Austrian league and cup double.
Photo by Hans Peter Lottermoser/SEPA.Media /Getty Images

Another of the Red Bull crop, Leeds are reportedly eyeing up a deal for Salzburg Right back Rasmus Kristensen. The right back has returned impressive numbers this season registering 10 goals and 8 assists in the Austrian Bundesliga. Whilst the quality of that division is significantly lower than that of the Premier League, this gives us an idea of the type of player the Danish international is.

Kristensen has worked under Marsch before, winning the league and cup double in 2020/21 with Salzburg. Having already worked under Marsch this puts the Leipzig man in prime position for a move to Elland Road this summer with Marsch clearly being a fan. Having already made his feelings clear about wanting to move onto a bigger challenge this season, it would not be surprising to see him turning out in the white of Leeds United next season.

With Ayling out injured for the foreseeable future and coming off the back of a poor season, the fan favorites’ days at Leeds may well be coming to an end in the next few years as the rebuild will slowly take place. Kristensen is the perfect replacement for Ayling at Leeds. Although not proven in the Premier League, the 24-year-old has averaged a remarkable 4.6 tackles per game this year as opposed to Ayling’s 2.7 tackles per game. This would be a significant improvement to Leeds United’s defence which at times last season got embarrassed.

With the aforementioned alliance with Marsch and his former teammate Aaronson being at Leeds, there are reasons for Kristensen more than a move to other Premier League clubs. With the return of Drameh from Cardiff and Ayling from injury the depth at the right back position would start to look a lot healthier than the current situation.

Armando Broja

Leeds United v Southampton - Premier League
Broja applauds the travelling Southampton support as he leaves the Elland Road pitch.
Photo by Matt Watson/Southampton FC via Getty Images

There are growing reports that Leeds are working on a deal for an unnamed Premier League striker and it has created a lot of speculation from the Elland Road faithful as to who it may be. After spending an impressive season-long loan spell at Southampton netting 6 times in his 21 appearances for the saints (11 of which came off the bench) the Albanian has returned to Chelsea and will most likely be loaned out again or sold for good.

With the disappointment of Romelu Lukaku at Stamford Bridge in his first season back it would not be surprising if Tuchel was to include 20-year-old Broja into his first team plans next season. However, with Werner and Lukaku both at the club it is hard to see where Broja fits into any potential plans therefore an exit from Stamford Bridge should not be ruled out for the Albanian.

With Patrick Bamford’s injury problems this season, the lack of depth at the forward position almost cost Leeds their Premier League status so another striker is a must in this transfer window if Leeds want to move forward and become the established Premier League force they once were and Broja would be a good start to that rebuild.

With creative midfielder Aaronson joining Leeds already this summer they need somebody to put away the chances that he creates and if Bamford is in the treatment room it can’t be him. With Broja being only 20 years old there is room for improvement so it would be a smart investment for the club and the direction they want to move in.

Whatever happens in this transfer window it is important that Leeds invest in the right places. Having chanced it last season with a small squad and only just got away with it, one things for sure, if the whites do that again they will be playing football in the second tier of English football before they know it.