Sky Sports News senior reporter Tim Thornton examines what’s next for Leeds with key players Raphinha and Kalvin Phillips leaving the club this summer…
Leeds has been fully aware that these moves could happen for a while. It was even known last summer that Marcelo Bielsa could leave the club.
In January, they managed to fight off interest and keep Phillips and Raphinha and have been planning ever since. They have already made three signings this summer in Brenden Aaronson, Rasmus Kristensen Y Mark Rock. Those players would have signed anyway, but now there’s money in the pot.
We expect Leeds to move quickly and bring new players to the club: another midfielder, a winger and a striker to play alongside Patrick Bamford, as Jesse Marsch likes to play with two up front.
Leeds paid £16m for Raphinha and will be looking to do the same by buying players early and developing them. That is the strategy. They won’t spend £60-70m on a player. They have identified targets, they know who they want, and they will move quickly to attract them.
If Leeds can get three more then they can argue it’s been a good window, even though they’ve lost two massive players.
Phillips leaves as a Leeds legend, deserves Man City signing
Phillips has been a fantastic servant to Leeds and I don’t think any fans will upset him about moving to Manchester City.
It is the next stage for him: Champions League football and the fight for titles. He has done everything he can do for Leeds: he kept them last season and he will always be a legend at the club.
Leeds travel to Australia on Monday of the week so in terms of transfers there is a timetable and a deadline to get those who are leaving out and try to get in but I think they are ready to move forward on targets as long as these deals are carried out. as expected.
Chelsea closer to Raphinha deal: Leeds planned to leave
Talks are ongoing with Chelsea about Raphinha, it’s a deal that is getting closer but not yet done. We know that Arsenal are interested in him and they rejected an offer. Barcelona is excited, Tottenham too.
Chelsea’s interest is longstanding and the deal is getting closer. Leeds have yet to receive a written offer so it is now a matter of reviewing the technicalities of the deal and the formalities. It appears that the player is heading towards Stamford Bridge.
It would be good business for Leeds. It’s not long since she joined Leeds, but what a servant she’s been to them. Seventeen Premier League goals in two seasons. It is a move that suits him well and Leeds was aware that he could spend this summer. They planned for this.
Marsch needs to balance defense and attack
One of the things Marsch talked about when he took over in February was that he had to come in and start winning pressure games. Now, he has a little time to implement his ideas and the side will evolve from Bielsa’s kind of style.
The players need to adapt and maybe the fans too. One of his criticisms of Bielsa was that they were too aggressive and open. Then towards the end of last season they were better defensively but didn’t create as many chances.
The biggest challenge Marsch faces is striking a balance between offense and defense. He needs to get the right players that he wants in, in the right positions, and have time to implement his ideas in the group.
Leeds’ first set of fixtures are Wolves, Southampton, Chelsea, Brighton, Everton, Brentford, Forest. Take the Chelsea game and all those games are the ones Leeds need to win or score points. They can hit the ground running, but the challenge is getting new players on board and settling in quickly.
It could be very positive if they get the players to come in and get the wins on the board. The other side of the coin is that if they take a long time to settle, you will have beaten that set of encounters and the next batch will be more difficult.
Bamford for England?
Marsch came at a time when Phillips, Patrick Bamford and Liam Cooper were injured and the players were low on confidence. Injuries went through the spine of the team and Bielsa liked a small team, so there weren’t many reinforcements.
Statistically, with Phillips and Cooper on the side, Leeds were much better than when they weren’t. If they can get the right players now, like another quality striker, if Bamford were injured next season for example, then they have a few more options.
Towards the end of last season against Chelsea, I was sitting on the TV porch watching the game alongside Bamford, who couldn’t influence what was happening on the pitch. He might have been wondering if he was going to get another chance to play in the Premier League for Leeds.
It’s huge for players like him to stay in the division and probably in the back of his mind he’s thinking: ‘I need to start working’ because, don’t forget, he was in the England team. It’s just the injuries that have gotten him out of this. If the season starts well, then who knows…
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