With six in already and around the same number out it begs the question, which areas of the current squad need to be strengthened. We sold our most promising young player, but replaced all the others with better quality. The loss of Bellusci, Bianchi, Wootton, Antenucci and Erwin doesn’t represent much of a loss.
The signings of Robert Green, Kyle Bartley and Kemar Roofe gives us grounds for optimism, replacing players who were a bit-part number in the squad. Add to that the £2million Swedish striker Marcus Antonsson who is a gamble but one Monk was willing to take, and highly rated French Youth International Hadi Sacko who currently in a 6-year contract with Portuguese power house Sporting Lisbon and you have grounds for optimism. Finally Matt Grimes adds another Garry Monk style-based player in the heart of the midfield, highly rated and clearly highly talented. So the squad is already better than last season, and with Monk, Clotet, Beattie and Flahaven it looks that bit better. No doubt the loss of Lewis Cook hurt us all, his potential huge, but in terms of now we look pretty good.
Wednesdays game in Dublin did leave some doubts in certain areas of the park. With Liam Cooper injured Kyle Bartley and Sol Bamba were the only first-team centre-backs. Gaeatno Berardi’s injury can be covered with Lewie Coyle so no problems at full-backs (yet). Charlie Taylor and Tyler Denton on the other side. I believe Denton is more than good enough if called upon. Rob Green will probably be the number one, with Ross Turnbull and Baily Peacock-Farrell behind him, strong.
Into the midfield and we have issues. Phillips is young and inexperienced, Murphy who captained the side is hit and miss. Monk may well bring the best out in both. Matt Griimes will play a part, Monks style already ingrained in the youngster. Diagouraga (Dave) is probably my number one choice in the deeper role, a combative but elegant at times addition to a Leeds squad lacking presence currently. Alex Mowatt will hopefully be utilised in a number 10 role, attacking as we saw against Shelbourne. For me this is the most important area to strengthen. We need a top midfielder, a leader in the heart of the team, this is a must for me.
The final third looks remarkably strong compared to three weeks ago. Hadi Sacko gives us electric pace and hopefully a match-winner. Jordan Botaka is, for me still more than capable of causing mayhem at this level. Mouth watering is the prospect of Botaka and Sacko running at defenders on either side of the park with 10 minutes left to go in a tight game. Stuart Dallas brings his classy and hard-working attributes to the picture, and Kemar Roofe is also capable of playing from the wings. Leeds most expensive player in over a decade seems to have caught the imagination of most. Quick, direct and a serious goal-threat, Roofe will be looking to establish himself at this level.
Chris Wood will want to have a better season after finally looking like the player he is capable of towards the end of last season. Those who were in Dublin on Wednesday spoke very highly of new signing Marcus Antonsson. Quick and a very nice touch, adding something we don’t have up front. Leeds may well look to add another but Kemar Roofe is said to be very good in that role. Souleymane Doukara was arguably the stand-out player on Wednesday, whether the arrival of another French player can make spur him on we are yet to see. Depending of the formation we may not need another. Anthony Limbombe continues to be linked, whether Cellino finally goes and gets his man we don’t know.