With Leeds’ long-term struggles over finding a genuine left-back, it’s no surprise that Marcelo Bielsa’s side appear to be gearing up to fix that issue in the summer transfer window.
Writing for The Athletic, Phil Hay claimed that left-back is likely to be a position that is high up on the summer transfer agenda and that both Bielsa and Victor Orta “can see how an effective, specialist left-back — something Leeds have struggled to unearth for many years — would improve the balance of their line-up, complementing Luke Ayling’s box-to-box presence from the opposite full-back spot”.
Hay revealed that the Whites are genuinely interested in Stade Brest ace Romain Perraud, who has been a revelation for the French side in Ligue 1 this season.
The 23-year-old has been the most productive defender in the division this campaign, scoring three goals and providing five assists, with his assists total actually only bettered by eight players in the entire league, among players in all positions.
Compared to current Leeds left-back Gjanni Alioski, Perraud’s numbers in the key offensive metrics are far superior, bettering his shots per game (1.1 to 0.7), key passes (1 to 0.7), accurate crosses (1.2 to 0.4), and successful dribbles too (0.9 to 0.4).
Hay added: “Perraud, 23, played for France up to under-20s level and his performance data — taken from smarterscout, which gives detailed analytics on players all over the world and gives ratings between zero and 99 across a series of metrics — shows characteristics which would meet Bielsa requirements: a creative edge and a high number of dribbles and shots for a player at his position, combined with a very active role in pressing defensively.”
With the 5 foot 8 Perraud flying down the left-hand side from full-back, that could open up the gates for Jack Harrison to wreak even more havoc. The duo would have the pace and energy to dove-tail well, with the winger previously raving about Alioski when he shone at left-back.
He said: “Always energetic, always running and causing problems for the opponents. We know what he’s like. Provides that as an outlet for the side as well.”
Perraud could offer something similar given his impressive offensive stats, and that ability to be a dynamic threat going forward makes him a dream player for Bielsa, especially in that full-back position.
With Alioski potentially being phased out or even let go in the summer – his contract is expiring at the end of the season – Perraud could be the perfect player to come in and start an exciting partnership with Harrison down Leeds’ left flank.