Football Insider have revealed that Leeds are set to prioritise signing a new defensive midfielder this summer.
What's the latest news on Leeds' transfer plans?
Leeds have had a strong campaign in their first season back in the Premier League for 16 years. With their status in the top-flight secured, they are now looking ahead to the summer transfer window to bolster their squad.
It is understood that they want to strengthen their options in the holding midfielder role, and their director of football Victor Orta is currently putting together a shortlist of players who could come in to improve Bielsa's side next term.
Why do Leeds want to strengthen in this position?
At the moment, the side only have one natural defensive midfielder in their ranks - Kalvin Phillips.
The 25-year-old has proven his quality across the course of the season, and already has seven England caps to his name. However, there is a lot of pressure on his shoulders to be available every week and performing at the top of his game, as Leeds do not currently have a like-for-like replacement for him.
For the most part, Phillips has taken responsibility well, but he has had to miss nine league matches in 2020/21 due to picking up a variety of injuries in recent months.
How have Leeds fared without Phillips this season?
Not particularly well.
They have lost seven of the 10 games that he has failed to feature in. The latest of those came this past Saturday when he missed out with a knee injury and Leeds were beaten 2-0 by Brighton. Overall, Leeds' win percentage with Phillips in the team is 46% this season, but that drops to 20% when he is not playing.
On three occasions when Phillips has been absent from the side, Leeds have conceded four goals in a match, signifying how he plays an important role in protecting the defence when he is on the pitch.
A sign that Leeds want to push on again next year?
Leeds could hardly be blamed if they decided that having an England international was enough to cover their holding midfield position for now. They could simply hope that he does not have as many fitness setbacks next season.
However, it seems that they want to push on again in 2021/22, to prove that this year has not been a fluke and that they can do even better next time around.
The report suggests that the club want to find someone who can cover and compete with Phillips moving forwards, indicating that Leeds do not just want a back-up option - they are looking for someone who could replace Phillips if he goes off the boil.
By improving their strength in depth, Leeds can show that they are here to stay, and may be able to make a run for a European place in the next 12 months.News Now - Sport News