Earlier this week, we discussed the idea that Marcelo Bielsa could switch to a tactic that involved using inverted wingers after the signing of Raphinha.
We suggested Helder Costa as a possible option on the left, due to his previous experience playing on that side and also his ability to shoot on his right foot, but a deeper dig into Bielsa’s past shows that there may be a much better option in Leeds’ squad.
When you think of a Bielsa player, you likely think of pace, high energy and intensity, so it may come as something of a surprise that one of his most creative players ever was Dimitri Payet.
Interestingly, Payet has been deployed as a left-winger for the majority of his career, despite being a right-footer.
He isn’t in the Jack Harrison mould where he wants to get to the by-line and cut it back, he’s much more focused on skill and technique rather than pace. He’s adept at cutting inside, finding a killer ball or getting in an early cross on his favoured right foot.
So, if Bielsa is going to switch to inverted wingers, he may be looking for someone in Payet’s mould to play down the left, and he has that man in the shape of Pablo Hernandez.
Nobody can doubt that Hernandez has the ability to put in pin-point crosses or cut inside onto his favoured right foot. We’ve seen him do it time and time again from a more central area over the past few seasons, but he is more than capable of playing on the left.
Of course, he wasn’t playing in a Bielsa team for those previous left-wing appearances, so if those numbers can improve at a similar rate to how we’ve seen his stats improve over the past two seasons, he could actually add another gear to his game playing in that role in the system.
It’s certainly an interesting prospect, and one Bielsa may want to explore in the not so distant future.