Bielsa told by pundit only one star good enough to stop Leeds battling drop

Raphinha, Rodrigo, Jack Harrison Newcastle v Leeds January 2021

Raphinha is the only Leeds United player good enough to prevent the club from a Premier League relegation battle, a pundit has claimed.

The Whites finished last season on a high, ninth following their first campaign back in the top flight in 16 years. Indeed, boss Marcelo Bielsa won plaudits from across the league for his tactics. Amid their core Championship squad sticking around, several new signings helped their cause.

Up front, Brazilian Raphinha and Spain international Rodrigo impressed in their debut campaigns. Meanwhile, goalkeeper Illan Meslier did the same after making his loan move permanent.

However, Leeds have had a poor pre-season so far. They have only won one of five games, losing each of their last three. On Wednesday, Ajax beat the Whites 4-0.

Speaking as a pundit for Ziggo Sport for the clash, former Tottenham and Real Madrid midfielder Rafael van der Vaart made grim reading of their performances.

“Raphinha is a great player but apart from that, its average,” he said.

“I think they will fight against relegation this season.”

Leeds will have other ideas. Rodrigo enjoyed fine end-of-season form last term after initial struggles in his debut campaign.

Raphinha had a standout season, but unfortunately encountered injury.

TEAMtalk: Euro Paper Talk

TEAMtalk: Euro Paper Talk

Jason Thornton and Matthew Briggs from TEAMtalk discuss all the latest gossip from around the football world, including Chelsea's pursuit to bring Romelu Lukaku back to Stamford Bridge, Manchester United's reported interest in signing both Saul Niguez and Erling Haaland, Arsenal's potential move for Ajax's Andre Onana and Barcelona starlet Ilaix Moriba's possible move away from the Camp Nou.

As for new arrivals, Junior Firpo has solved the problem of Ezgjan Alioski departing at left-back. The former Barcelona man has signed a four-year deal at Elland Road.

Leeds have since had links with midfielders and attackers. Hertha Berlin’s Matheus Cunha and Club Brugge’s Noa Lang are among the players to have had mentions as targets.

United open their Premier League season with a blockbuster match against Manchester United at Old Trafford next Saturday.

Leeds still eyeing Lang transfer

Noa Lang, Club Brugge winger

According to the latest report, Dutchman Lang remains a target for Leeds.

Journalist Fabrizio Romano has the update, insisting as much despite the lack of advance from the Whites.

Lang also has interest from Sevilla, but they have recently signed ex-Tottenham man Erik Lamela.

What’s more, Lang’s fee could prove too much for the Spanish club.

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