It was all going so well to begin with, Leeds rolling over teams in the league and cup, all looking great. However you find out about your team and coach when the going gets tough and what we are finding out is that the recruitment in the summer wasn’t as great as we thought.
Now we are finding out who has the ability and character to make a difference at this level, and not many are proving they can cut it. If you go through all of the players brought in during the summer window there aren’t many making an impact in the first-team. In actual fact the only one is Samu Saiz and perhaps Andy Lonergan. Felix Wiedwald has been dropped, Cameron Borthwick-Jackson couldn’t buy a game before injury, Matthew Pennington looks bang average and Vurnon Anita is in and out, not doing loads but perhaps just enough. Into the midfield, Matty Klich has barely had a chance, Gjanni Alioski started well and has flopped and Hadi Sacko can’t get in the side. Samu Saiz wonderful, Lasogga hit and miss and Jay-Roy Grot not worth speaking about. Add Pawel Cibicki into the mix who can’t even get on the bench and you can see the huge issues.
If you look through them all some will probably be a success but of that list most aren’t producing anywhere near the standard that we need currently. The likes of Grot and Cibicki are baffling in all honesty. We paid around £3.2 million for Samu Saiz, and half that for both Grot and Cibicki. The pair are in slightly different situations but the outcome is the same, both don’t look like making a difference. Grot keeps coming off the bench and looking like he can’t be bothered putting in the effort, lounging about hoping one might go in off his shin if he strolls into the right position. Cibicki can’t even get on the bench most of the time and given how bad we are that speaks volumes for what Thomas Christiansen thinks of him as a player.
There are some odd situations, the refusal to play Borthwick-Jackson (before he was injured) was hugely frustrating and he seems to be picking players despite their poor form. Luke Ayling, Kalvin Phillips, Eunan O’Kane, Pierre-Michel Lasogga and Gjianni Alioksi (to an extent) are all almost guaranteed a place in the side despite their poor form, and that causes huge problems because none of them seem to be playing for their shirt. In any other side most of these players would have been dropped recently but most if not all will start the game on Saturday evening. we need players who can perform consistently at this level and that is a mix of players who have played at this level and players from abroad. We are spending money on players from abroad for “value” yet if you combined Grot and Cibicki’s transfer fees you could have bought Chris Wood (when he signed for Leeds).