Since signing from Real Sociedad in the summer, it’s been a difficult start to life at Leeds United for Diego Llorente.
The Spain international has made just the one appearance in a Leeds shirt following his arrival, and that came in a 3-1 defeat away to Chelsea back at the start of this month.
But, ahead of his side’s Premier League side clash against Burnley, Leeds boss Marcelo Bielsa confirmed that Liam Cooper has been ruled out of the game due to an abdominal strain, but that Llorente “is in condition to play again”.
And with Cooper injured, now is the perfect time for Bielsa to unleash his summer signing.
Following his signing, La Liga expert Guillem Balague waxed lyrical about the centre-back, calling him a “top player” and that as well as being “very athletic”, he is “quality with his feet” and “fantastic” on the ball.
Llorente just fits Bielsa’s mould to an absolute tee, and the £18m-rated ace could go on to establish himself as a key part of Leeds’ future if he can stay injury-free and is given a proper chance to shine.
With the Whites boss already showing he isn’t afraid to throw new players into the deep end – you only have to look at Robin Koch to see that – Llorente should be knocking on his manager’s door urging him to start him on Sunday.
Whilst a game against a physically dominant side like Burnley seems like a strange place for Bielsa to call on Llorente so early into his Leeds career, it could well prove to be the making of him.
The kind of test that toughens him up and shows him just how different the intensity is from the Premier League to La Liga. If he comes through it unscathed, then Bielsa could be onto a winner not just for the here and now, but for the future too.