Leeds United

Leeds United

Premier League • England

Victor Orta ‘rips up’ original Bielsa transfer plan as Leeds crisis springs more expensive idea

Jonny Whitfield
Victor Orta, Leeds United director of football

The injury crisis at Leeds United has forced director of football Victor Orta to change his plan for the January transfer window, according to a report.

The Whites enjoyed their first season back in the Premier League last term, taking many teams by surprise. However, amid a host of injury issues this time around, their fortunes have taken a turn for the worse.

Indeed, Leeds currently sit 16th in the Premier League table with only three wins from 17 games.

Key fitness issues for a host of players including Kalvin Phillips, Patrick Bamford and Luke Ayling has not helped. But it is in midfield where head coach Marcelo Bielsa has a big problem.

England international Phillips will be out for a while longer with a hamstring injury. Jamie Shackleton, meanwhile, joined the injury list during the 7-0 defeat to Manchester City.

Pascal Struijk is also not available, leaving Bielsa short of options in his engine room.

According to Football Insider, Leeds had made plans to bolster their ranks with a midfield addition. The source now claims, though, that transfer chief Orta wants to bring two players in in that area.

Orta is targeting a new defensive midfielder and an attacking midfielder.

Manchester United scouting Leeds' Illan Mesiler

Manchester United sent scouts to watch Leeds goalkeeper Illan Meslier who’s viewed as a potential long term replacement for David de Gea.

Leeds may be five points above the relegation zone, but 18th-placed Burnley have two games in hand. Watford will have the same number as a coronavirus outbreak has forced Saturday’s clash with Crystal Palace to be postponed.

As such, Leeds chiefs reportedly ‘fear’ a relegation battle. Orta is therefore trying to beef up Bielsa’s ranks with some ‘top-class additions’.


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The manager only currently has Adam Forshaw, who has only just returned from a lengthy spell out, Mateusz Klich and Stuart Dallas as senior midfield options.

Luckily, Robin Koch is closing in on a comeback and he will add to Bielsa’s options.

Bielsa takes on Leeds critics

Marcelo Bielsa raising his hand during a Leeds game

To add to Leeds’ concerns, their fixture list does not get any easier either.

Following the 3-2 defeat to Chelsea and the 7-0 hammering by Chelsea, they play Arsenal on Saturday and then Liverpool on Boxing Day.

Leeds have yet to play Arsenal in the Premier League this season, but they lost 3-0 to Liverpool at Elland Road in September.

Pressed again on the subject of his potential departure, Bielsa tackled his critics head on.