Leeds United director of football, Victor Orta, must make a late transfer move for Fiorentina midfielder Erick Pulgar on deadline day.
Reports over the course of this transfer window have suggested that Marcelo Bielsa’s side have been keen on signing the Chile international, along with his La Viola teammate Christian Kouame.
However, Italian publication TuttoMercatoWeb have recently claimed that whilst Pulgar’s name does appeal to the Elland Road side, they have “no plans” for a move in this window, instead potentially revisiting it in the summer.
Whilst stats aren’t the be all and end all to just how important of a player someone is, Leeds United have won just one of the five games that talisman Kalvin Phillips has missed this season, with the other four all being defeats.
He is the midfield heartbeat for Bielsa, and the side just doesn’t look the same without him, mostly because of how good he is, but also because there simply isn’t anyone else in the Leeds squad to come in and cover for him well enough.
Pascal Struijk has been the man the Leeds boss has turned to, and that was the case when the Whites faced Brighton when Phillips was suspended.
The Yorkshire club ended up losing 1-0 on the day, and it led Noel Whelan to say: “I think Struijk looks out of place, playing Kalvin’s role. I’ve got to say I don’t think there’s anyone that can play Kalvin’s role in the team which is worrying for me. When he’s out we don’t seem to have that flow in our game going forward and the discipline in the defensive role.”
Described as “powerful” by his manager at Fiorentina, Cesare Prandelli, Pulgar is an absolute pitbull in the middle of the park. and would be the perfect man to either partner Phillips or cover for him. In Serie A this season, he’s won 62% of his duels (higher than Struijk), and is more of a progressive passer than Struijk too – he’s got a better average for key passes, accurate long balls and accurate chipped passes too.
To put it simply, Orta just has to make a dramatic U-turn and bring the 6 foot 2 Pulgar in. Otherwise, he risks leaving Bielsa completely exposed for the second-half of this campaign, and left hoping that Phillips doesn’t suffer any kind of long-term injury. The Leeds boss will be absolutely fuming if that’s what pans out and his transfer chief had left him high and dry.