Leeds failed to build on their first Premier League win of the season against Watford as they lost 1-0 to Southampton at the weekend.
Marcelo Bielsa was without Raphinha, Kalvin Phillips and Patrick Bamford as Armando Broja’s goal was enough to secure the points for the home side.
This is despite £24m summer signing Dan James playing out wide on the left. He created zero chances in the game as he completed 25% of his attempted crosses and missed one ‘big chance’, with the Welshman yet to score or assist a goal in six appearances.
James was unable to provide the spark for Leeds that Raphinha often produces from out wide. The Brazilian has nine goals and nine assists since the start of last season, demonstrating that he can show up in key moments to deliver the goods for Leeds. Unfortunately, James has come in and, so far, failed to do the same, and this suggests that Victor Orta could need to dip into the market in January to rectify the situation.
Leeds reportedly sent scouts to watch Villarreal forward Arnaut Danjuma earlier this month and he could be the ideal player to come in and solve this problem. Orta could land a Raphinha alternative, or Raphinha 2.0 if you will, by bringing the Dutch international in to bolster Bielsa’s options out wide and that is why he must strike in the next window.
Clinton Morrison lauded the ex-Bournemouth man when speaking about him on Quest, via Football League World, saying: “Danjuma is an excellent player. Whatever happens, he will be playing Premier League football next year, whether it’s with Bournemouth or without them. He’s an exceptional talent.”
Danjuma has produced five goals and one assist in six starts since moving to Villarreal across the Champions League and La Liga this season, after managing 17 strikes and seven assists in the Championship for the Cherries last term. This shows that, like Raphinha, he has the ability to bully defenders.
Therefore, the £22.5m-rated man could be the Raphinha 2.0 Bielsa needs at Elland Road. Not only could he help Leeds cope without the ex-Rennes man when he is unavailable, but he could also link up with his fellow winger to terrorize opposition defences in the top-flight with their combined ability on the ball.
He has already shown that he can perform in England, albeit in the second tier, and is now proving himself at the very top level for Villarreal. This is why Orta must bring him to the club in January to improve the team and ensure that Leeds do not become unstuck at Premier League level because of Raphinha’s fitness or availability in the second half of the campaign.