Like a good poker player, Leeds United manager Marcelo Bielsa keeps his cards VERY close to his chest. None so close as his transfer cards.
Bielsa has said all along, in a ‘party line’ towed by Leeds United, that there was likely to be little to no January transfer business for the Whites. The Argentinian has said all along that he is happy with what he has at Elland Road in terms of playing staff.
Yes, injuries are continuing to bite hard and there’s only so much elasticity left in a squad that is already stretched as thin as can be. The stretching is beginning to tell, some fans worried about areas developing somewhat a threadbare nature.
However, there is some hope that Leeds United will be adding to the cohort of players at the club:
MB on transfers: “Samu Saiz left, Pablo now plays as a playmaker and we need a winger. The injury of Jamal Blackman has not been covered by another player. These are the two positions that were solved at the start of the competition and now we’re trying to find another one” #lufc
— Lee Sobot (@LeeSobotYEP) January 4, 2019
These words, carried by Yorkshire Evening Post reporter Lee Sobot, are from Bielsa’s per-QPR FA Cup presser. In this comment he admits that there are deficiencies in the pared-down squad that he prefers to run with.
One of those ‘deficient’ positions is that on the wing, a position left open after the movement of Pablo Hernandez infield to cover Samu Saiz’s departure.
Here’s five wingers that Leeds United could bring in this January that would add to the side that Bielsa has at Elland Road.
Five wingers who’d fill the gap at Leeds United
1. Ibai Gomez (Deportivo Alavés): Gomez is a player who has been constantly linked with the Whites over recent months. There have been links in both the Spanish and domestic press saying that there is interest from the Whites.
The Bilbao-born 29-year-old joined current club Alavés at the end of July 2016, his current deal running out this coming June. So far this season he has made 17 LaLiga appearances, scoring three goals and providing two assists.
This total is part of an overall 17 goals and 11 assists for Alavés in 91 games played. Add in the 17 goals and 23 assists from his time at Athletic Bilbao and it’s easy to see why he might appeal to Leeds United.
2. Jamal Lowe (Portsmouth): Lowe is a player who has been only recently linked with a move to Leeds. He’s currently plying his trade at League One high-fliers Portsmouth after a January 2017 move from non-league Hampton and Richmond Borough.
He’d spent two years in non-league football, first with St Albans City and later Hemel FC, after leaving then League Two side Barnet. Whilst at Barnet he’d seen loans out at the likes of Hayes and Yeading, Boreham Wood and Hitchin Town FC.
This season he’s featured in 26 games for Pompey, his 10 League One goals and four assists obviously catching the eyes of the Whites. These form a part of the 16 goals and 13 assists he’s made in 93 games for Portsmouth since coming back into league football.
3. Steven Zuber (FC Hoffenheim): Leeds United interest in 21-cap Switzerland international Zuber came from German publication Bild. Whilst saying they were unsure he’d drop down to the Championship, they did say Hoffenheim are looking to move him on.
The Yorkshire Evening Post’s Phil Hay corroborated the interest saying he was a player the Whites had been looking at for some time. He’s featured 13 times for the Germans in all competitions this season, including nine times in the 1.Bundesliga where he has one assist. His only goal this season has been in the Champions League against Shaktar Donetsk.
He’s got goals and assists in him, as evidenced by the 23 goals and 21 assists in 146 games for Grasshopper Zurich. Bringing in Zuber would be an instant place filler for the Whites, adding definite class to the side.
4. Lucas Piazón (Chelsea): Chelsea paid £6.75m to bringPiazon to English football from Säo Paulo in January 2012. He arrived as an 18-year-old supposed prodigy, but it is safe to say that he hasn’t really made the grade at Stamford Bridge. He’s made a total of just three appearances (two assists) in his time at the Blues.
Instead, his football has come via a series of loans deals to the likes of Málaga, Vitesse Arnhem and Eintracht Frankfurt. His last loan saw him play in the Championship with Fulham, helping them to promotion. Indeed, he has 74 games worth of experience at this level, scoring 13 goals and providing 10 assists.
His contract at Stamford Bridge is up this June, bringing in the talented potential that Piazón has might be something that the Whites look at.
5. Mimoun Mahi (FC Groningen): Moroccan winger Mahi is another who has been linked to Leeds, but this was back in late 2017 and early 2018. He’s also another who has his contract up in June this year.
He’s currently playing for Groningen in the Dutch Eredivisie, and playing well. In 13 games this current campaign, the two-cap Moroccan international has scored five times and provided four assists. These five goals form part of a larger picture of 36 goals and 18 assists for Groningen.
With Mahi approaching the end of his current deal, and with Leeds United looking for a winger, it might be sound sense to test the waters somewhat.