Just when Leeds United thought Diego Llorente was finally going to show why the club spent big money on signing him in the summer, the Spaniard went down with another injury last week.
The centre-back has been so unfortunate with his struggles with injury in his debut campaign in English football, being restricted to just two competitive appearances for Marcelo Bielsa’s side.
He played just 10 minutes of the game against Newcastle in the Premier League in mid-week before being forced off, and Bielsa confirmed after the game that the signs were worrying.
He said in his post-match press conference: “He has a similar problem to the one he had before. It’s a problem for him, for us, for all of us. In this moment, what worries me is Diego’s state of mind, given the succession of injuries he has had. It’s natural that he’s sad because of this now and we share that sadness.”
But whilst Llorente looks set to be out for another extended spell, Leeds may well see this as the perfect opportunity to tap into their resources of young talent, with Leif Davis waiting on the side-lines.
The 21-year-old, who can play at left-back or in the middle of defence, has tasted very little Premier League action this season – just 31 minutes to be precise.
But what is clear though, is that people at the club think very highly of him, with The Athletic journalist Phil Hay declaring that those at Elland Road consider him an absolute bargain signing.
Speaking on The Phil Hay Show back in November, he said: “He’s very well thought of, is Davis, and he has been since he came, and of the Under-23s, he’s really been as involved as most under Bielsa and has quite often been the go-to player when Bielsa’s needed a left-back.
“The bottom line is that at Leeds, they think an awful lot of Davis, and they think that he’s a bit of a steal for what they paid to sign him from Morecambe.”
Whilst Davis has been Bielsa’s “go-to” at left-back, perhaps he could do the same at centre-back when Leeds take on Leicester in the Premier League on Sunday.
If Jamie Vardy is fit, then his pace is likely to cause some problems, and Davis’ extra speed given that he can also play at full-back may be the perfect recipe to success for Bielsa’s side.
If the experiment works out, then the Leeds boss may have stumbled on the kind of defender who could be the mainstay of this Leeds defence for the next few years at the very least.