With Pablo Hernandez’s time winding down at Elland Road, it would be no surprise to see Leeds United drawing up plans behind the scenes to try and find the little Spaniard’s successor.
Marcelo Bielsa has only used him sparingly this season in the Premier League, in part no doubt to the recognition that at 35, he just isn’t in peak physical condition.
It’s why reports in recent days of the Whites’ links to Swansea City’s Yan Dhanda makes a lot of sense, with the 22-year-old still a burgeoning talent and has shown flashes of potential.
But if Victor Orta and the rest of the transfer committee at Elland Road were making a ruthless decision, then Dhanda just hasn’t proven to be the man to take Leeds forward.
This season, he’s managed just one goal and two assists in 14 games in all competitions, with his average match rating as per Whoscored of 6.54 ranking him 18th in the entire Swansea squad – only three players who have actually started a game for the Swans have a lower rating.
After signing him from Valencia in the summer, Bielsa has opted to go with Rodrigo as the man to support Patrick Bamford, playing in a slightly withdrawn role but with the licence to make runs forward and try and get in and amongst the goals.
And it’s safe to say that things haven’t quite panned out for him just yet, but with three goals in the Premier League, he’s shown glimpses that he can do it at the very highest level unlike Dhanda, who has struggled even at a level below.
Even in his side’s 1-0 victory over Leeds back in August 2019, Dhanda was absolutely mauled by Kalvin Phillips, finishing with a 6.1 match rating – the second-worst of any Swansea player.
Phillips came out with the highest of any player on the pitch, and it’s no surprise when you see just how much he dominated Swansea’s attacking midfielder. He won an incredible 14 of his 18 duels, and made a ridiculous nine tackles, both of which were game-highs.
Dhanda, on the other hand, made just six successful passes, lost seven of his 11 duels and conceded possession on 13 separate occasions. The 22-year-old just couldn’t cope with the pace and intensity of Leeds’ play, and you can only feel that he would encounter similar problems at Premier League level.
It’s a move they desperately need to avoid.
Meanwhile, Leeds must desperately sell this flop…