Joe Wainman has delivered his verdict on Leeds United’s summer business, and in particular, their failure to sign a new central midfielder.
Marcelo Bielsa’s side were linked with a number of players in that position over the course of the summer transfer window, with Huddersfield Town’s Lewis O’Brien one that was continually linked.
While speaking to GIVEMESPORT, Wainman was asked why the Whites perhaps didn’t make a move for free agent Olivier Ntcham, who has since made the switch to Swansea.
In response, he said: “Bielsa won’t take players if they’re not going to get game time and if he doesn’t think they’re the right character, the right type of player. I’m forever having this conversation where people say: ‘we need bigger depth’, and we’re never going to get that under Bielsa. But what we need to do is improve the quality of the depth.
“So, like we have done with removing Costa and Poveda out of the scenario, and having Summerville and Dan James, it’s a step up. Bielsa looks at it and sees that he’s got Forshaw back on the mend, Klich, Dallas.
“Are these players that are going to come in and start over them or are they just going to sit on the bench? They’re going to sit on the bench, which is what would happen. It’s like with the Kalvin position. It’s hard to find someone who can do what Kalvin can, who’s also going to be willing to sit on the bench.
“That’s why Bielsa prefers maybe a Robin Koch who can play in centre-back and also go in there if needed.”
The club signing players for the sake of signings players would, of course, be a massive mistake, but Leeds’ failure to sign a new midfielder has left them with a real problem for the next few months before the January transfer window opens up again.
Adam Forshaw’s return from injury has bolstered Bielsa’s options somewhat, but it will be a major ask to want someone who’s been out for more than a year to hit the ground running in the Premier League, especially when the Whites have made a difficult start to the new season.
Whether it was getting Andrea Radrizzani and co to fork out that little more to sign O’Brien, or potentially accepting an alternative target would suffice, Bielsa could have, and probably should have, strengthened Leeds’ midfield in the summer.
The Whites are already seeing the impact injuries can have even in a position of strength at centre-back, but it would be almost unthinkable if the club had a similar sort of crisis in midfield.
It would be no surprise if Leeds fans are worried with Wainman’s verdict.