Leeds Transfer News: Hay clarifies club's Deadline Day decision

Leeds' summer target Noa Lang in action for Club Brugge

Leeds United correspondent Phil Hay has explained why the club decided to sign Daniel James rather than Noa Lang in the recent transfer window.

How strongly were Leeds linked with Lang?

It seems that Leeds showed significant interest in signing the 22-year-old this summer.

The winger was linked with a move to Elland Road throughout the summer, but the Yorkshire-based club decided against pursuing him in the end, as they wrapped up a deal for James instead.

What has Hay said about Leeds deciding against signing Lang?

In his latest column for The Athletic, Hay clarified why Leeds opted against making a move for Lang, outlining one particular concern that Marcelo Bielsa had about the Netherlands Under-21 international.

He wrote: “Concerns about defensive capabilities were understood to be behind Bielsa’s decision not to pursue Club Bruges’s Noa Lang last month. James (finally) arrives at Leeds knowing he will be asked to graft at both ends of the field.”

How has Lang started this season?

Lang, who is valued at £19.8m by Transfermarkt, has been in sparkling form in the opening weeks of the season, playing for Club Brugge in Belgium.

In his first six games of the season he has been directly involved in five goals, playing his part in helping the side gather 11 points from these fixtures.

His standout display arguably came against Zulte Waregem, when he scored the opening goal before creating the second during a 4-0 victory for his side.

Have Leeds made the right decision?

There’s certainly reason to believe that they have.

Leeds were one of the most entertaining sides in England’s top-flight last season as they secured a top half finish in their first year back in the Premier League.

However, they did look vulnerable at the back, with Bielsa’s men shipping 54 league goals – more than any other top 10 team.

Their defensive fragility has been exposed again in the opening weeks of the current campaign, with Manchester United putting five past them on the opening day. If they want to push on this season, Bielsa needs to find a better balance between attack and defence because his team have been opened up too easily at times over the past 12 months.

Therefore, it should be welcomed by the club’s fans that Bielsa appears to have recognised that his side need to defend from the front, and has acted on this by bringing in a player in James who is willing to help out his back line instead of signing a pure attacker in the shape of Lang. 

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