This article is part of Football FanCast’s In Numbers series, which takes a statistical look at performances, season-long form and reported transfer targets…
Marcelo Bielsa has to be happy with how his Leeds United squad are performing this season.
Indeed, the Whites sit in second place in the Championship, and they are five points clear of Fulham who sit just a place below them.
The London club are breathing down the Whites’ necks, and this week it has been revealed that Bielsa is, in fact, a big fan of one of Fulham’s most important players.
Football Insider have claimed that the Argentine admires Tom Cairney, which led to us imagining the mouth-watering prospect of the Scotland international playing for Leeds United.
Leeds’ midfield is already brilliant, but would Cairney make it even better? Let’s compare how the Fulham captain shapes up against what United already have.
In our hypothetical world where Cairney has joined Leeds the most likely place for him to slot into the squad is in place of Mateusz Klich.
The Pole usually plays in the most advanced role in Leeds’ midfield, and much like Cairney, he is expected to score and assist after netting double figures in goals last season alongside his nine assists.
He’s a more effective passer as his accuracy is higher and he creates more assists, while he’s also been in fine goalscoring form – netting six goals already this term.
Of course, Bielsa’s system requires a lot of pressing, running and defensive work from the midfield, but Cairney even eclipses Klich in the interceptions stat as he makes over twice as many interceptions as the Pole per game.
Cairney playing for Leeds is something of a pipe dream, he’s very committed to Fulham after signing a new five-year deal last summer, but if he did ever join Bielsa’s side he’d be an absolute star judging by this term.
In other news, stats have shown that Bielsa’s only change against Reading paid off on Tuesday.