Marcelo Bielsa shouldn’t keep ignoring the importance of depth at Leeds

This article is part of Football FanCast’s The Chalkboard series, which provides a tactical insight into teams, players, managers, potential signings and more… 

With the sale of Pontus Jansson and Liam Kitching on Monday, Leeds have now lost five centre-backs in this transfer window.

It’s already been stated that their lack of depth in that position in particular could see them struggle on the opening day, but a deeper look at the entire squad shows that Marcelo Bielsa is once again neglecting the issue throughout his whole side.

Last season

A lack of options throughout the squad last season cost Leeds in the end as they had to line up in the playoff semi-final second leg with a significantly weaker side than they had fielded throughout the rest of the campaign.

Gaetano Berardi came in for an injured Pontus Jansson, and was eventually sent off, Jamie Shackleton was thrown in at the deep end as Tyler Roberts and Adam Forshaw couldn’t play, and Patrick Bamford had a disappointing game as he came in for Kemar Roofe.

A look at Leeds’ bench that day tells the whole story. An unfit Jansson was joined by a group of youngsters who rarely featured for the Whites throughout 2018/19.

Bielsa seemingly hasn’t learnt from that mistake and the Whites could start next season looking even lighter than they did last term.

This season

The Yorkshire outfit may have signed seven players already in the transfer window, but only two of those are new additions to the first team as a number of youth players have been signed, and Jack Harrison and Jack Clarke were already there last season.

Jansson has left, and he could potentially be followed by Kemar Roofe, Kalvin Phillips and Adam Forshaw.

That would leave Leeds with just one senior striker in their ranks and if one of Forshaw or Phillips leaves, their midfield would be looking very light as well without a replacement.

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Injuries and suspensions plagued Bielsa’s side last season, and despite watching his team suffer due to a lack of squad depth just a few months ago, he doesn’t seem ready to fix those issues as players look to depart.

The problem isn’t solved even if these players are replaced. The Argentine needs to build on his squad from last term rather than just filling the gaps left by any exits.