Ian Poveda believes Leeds pulled off something of a transfer masterstroke with the capture of a little-seen summer signing.
Marcelo Bielsa’s side have made an impressive return to life in the Premier League and currently sit 12th after 17 games. Their attacking verve has won plenty of admirers, though they do have quite a leaky defence. Indeed, one pundit has labelled Bielsa and his side ‘average’ in the face of their porous nature.
However, there are strong mitigating circumstances for their leaky defence. Their two summer defensive signings, Robin Koch and Diego Llorente are both sidelined through injury. Koch is out until March after succumbing to a knee problem at Chelsea. His substitute that day, Llorente, has not been seen in a Leeds shirt before or since.
Leeds paid Freiburg £12.7m for Koch – and the fee for the Germany international already looks money well spent.
However, it is the capture of Llorente that most excites Poveda.
United paid Real Sociedad £18m for Llorente in the summer, signing on a four-year deal.
Despite appearing in just 81 minutes of action so far, Poveda reckons Llorente is going to make a big impact in 2021.
“Everyone gets on with everyone. I’ll speak to them in Spanish or in English,” he told BBC Radio Leeds.
“Diego (Llorente) has been settling in quite well. He’s been unlucky with the injuries but you can’t really predict that.
“But it’s good he’s a really good player and we’re excited by what he has to offer us. We know we trust in him, we know he has a lot to give us.”
Poveda on how Bielsa has moulded him at Leeds
Poveda, meanwhile, has explained how Marcelo Bielsa has helped him improve since his arrival from Man City.
The winger joined from City in January 2020. He played a bit-part role in helping them gain promotion to the Premier League.
However, he’s played a more prominent role this season, albeit being used as something of an impact sub.
However, he is making positive strides forward – and he thinks Bielsa has been key to that.
“I feel like he is making me like an all-round player,” Poveda told LUTV of his manager.
“He is opening my eyes as in, before I just wanted to receive the ball at my feet and just dribble, but now, I understand more of the game and I understand the style of the team.
“So, I know that if I make runs, my hands and my movements are really, really important because it not only helps me, but it helps a team-mate get on the ball.
“And I feel like, since I came here, I have become a much better player, more complete player.
“But I’ve still got a long long way to go.”