While Patrick Bamford has led the line superbly for Leeds this season, there’s no doubting that Marcelo Bielsa’s side could do with some reinforcements ahead of their second campaign back in the Premier League.
Bamford has bagged an impressive 14 goals and provided a further eight assists in the top flight alone, but the strength in depth up top is virtually non-existent for the Whites.
However, with reports linking the club with a summer transfer move for Barnsley’s Daryl Dike, the Elland Road club could unearth a striker who has a large resemblance and many similarities to one of the Argentine’s most feared centre-forwards in his time in management: Fernando Llorente.
The Spaniard’s name may be best known to fans of English football from his time at Tottenham, but it was with his performances back in his native country with Athletic Bilbao under Bielsa that he truly made a name for himself.
In the two full seasons for which the pair worked together, Llorente smashed in 34 goals and provided another eight assists in 89 games, to this day remains the second-most prolifc player in terms of most goals scored for Bielsa.
Standing at 6 foot 2, and with a real presence in the air just like Llorente – he wins a monstrous 6.4 aerial duels per game in the Championship (the fifth-most of any player in the division and comfortably more than everyone in the Leeds squad) – the £4.5m-rated Dike is a proper handful inside the penalty box.
He was dubbed a “revelation” by former Salford City manager Richie Wellens, who also added: “I can’t see Barnsley paying £17m for him, but I take my hat off to him for swapping the Orlando weather for Barnsley. But seriously he’s done great, he scores goals, he’s powerful and he’s given Barnsley a whole new dimension to their game.”
That new “dimension” is what Llorente brought to the table at Bilbao, combining a mix of technical quality and aerial dominance to fire the Basque club to a whisker away from lifting both the Copa Del Rey and Europa League under Bielsa’s management.
Given the kind of success that Llorente enjoyed under Bielsa whilst at the San Mames Stadium, Dike would surely fancy his chances of replicating the Spaniard’s work at Elland Road if the Whites were to sign him this summer.