Leeds United are currently looking to strengthen their problem area which has shown itself to be their backline. The recently promoted Yorkshire side has conceded the second highest amount of goals so far this season (34) with only West Brom letting more past them (45).
However, Victor Orta’s search for a new defensive superstar has proven difficult. The January transfer window is fast approaching and it looked as though they had the perfect man lined up. Chelsea outcast Fikayo Tomori was linked to a move to Elland Road following his drop down the pecking order, according to talkSPORT.
But the Whites aren’t the only club looking to swoop for the £75,000 per week centre-back. That same report claimed that Tomori was nearing a loan move to Rennes, while AC Milan are also still heavily invested in his services, with club director Paolo Maldini recently admitting he would be “perfect” for the Italians.
Indeed, a report from Fabrizio Romano counters the claim that he is close to Rennes by reporting that he will be joining the Serie A giants instead.
Whilst signing a defender from such a successful Premier League club would have been big business for Leeds, missing out has done wonders for Pascal Struijk.
As it stands, Marcelo Bielsa is struggling with his defence and is currently jamming round pegs into square holes. Luke Ayling has been operating as stand-in centre-back recently due to the absence of both Robin Koch and Diego Llorente.
The manager’s decision to field a player out of position rather than turning to a tried and tested central defender is worrying for Struijk. He has missed out on nine Premier League fixtures this season, with Bielsa refusing to bring him on off the bench. He has started their previous four top flight games however, the first three at centre-back and the most recent against Brighton in defensive midfield, but will likely be muscled out once Kalvin Phillips returns.
Again, when summer signing Koch returns from his injury, it seems likely he will once again join Liam Cooper in the heart of the defence. This, plus 20-year-old Oliver Casey also vying for his chance in the senior squad, will once again push Struijk to the bottom of the pile.
The added threat of a player like Tomori joining the team will have surely only spelled even more trouble for Struijk. The Dutchman will be breathing a sigh of relief knowing that his place at Leeds is, for now, safe from further competition.
In other news, Signing M’Bala Nzola will give Bamford what he needs…