This article is part of Football FanCast’s The Chalkboard series, which provides a tactical insight into teams, players, managers, potential signings and more…
Marcelo Bielsa’s quest to strengthen the left-wing position at Leeds United may be over as Phil Hay on Thursday confirmed that Jack Harrison is nearing a return to the club.
The Man City winger will join the Whites on loan for the second time after spending last year at Elland Road.
It’s been no secret that the Argentine wants to bring in reinforcements for his wide positions next term.
For one reason or another, Bielsa’s idea of strengthening the wings is bringing back a man who contributed to just seven goals last season.
With Ryan Kent rejecting a loan move to Leeds, it’s not implausible that Harrison will be the starting option on the left, but the Whites manager seems to be neglecting a man who is already at the club who is seemingly the better pick.
With Ezgjan Alioski’s heroics at left-back last season, it seems to have been forgotten that he is a winger by trade, and a good one at that.
The Macedonian appeared 18 times last season as a left-midfielder, and during those appearances, he scored five times and assisted three goals. That means that when played on the wing, he contributed to one more goal than Harrison in 21 fewer games.
Surely this should encourage Bielsa to utilise him as a more attacking option.
Indeed, he was brilliant at left-back, scoring four and assisting four while playing in that role. But with Barry Douglas being such an excellent option as an attacking full-back with 14 assists in the 2017/18 season, a left-flank featuring Douglas behind Alioski is surely better than one with the 27-year-old behind Harrison.
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Leeds would still have a reliable left-back, but they would also have a more effective threat down the wing as Alioski’s stats prove that he is a more dangerous player than Harrison.