Leeds will wait to see the outcome of Tuesday night’s play-off final between Brentford and Fulham before reportedly making their first foray into the summer transfer market.
United fans will have loved the pleasure of watching this season’s play-offs, completely stress-free. However, Tuesday night’s final between Brentford and Fulham might hold a bit more significance for the Whites’ faithful. The result could be decisive in which players they can attract to Elland Road.
Leeds are one of the sides interested in Brentford’s Said Benrahma with reports claiming they are considering an approach.
The winger is also fancied by the likes of Arsenal and Chelsea. The 24-year-old is believed to be valued around £25m.
Benrahma has been one of the standout players in the league this season, contributing 17 goals and nine assists in the Championship. The Algerian’s formidable relationship with Ollie Watkins and Bryan Mbuemo helped the Bees to third in the Championship. They were also the division’s highest scorers.
‘BMW’ scored a staggering 59 goals between them, which is more than 12 Championship teams’ combined totals.
In July, Benrahma told the Daily Express it was nice to see his name linked with big name clubs.
“I was really flattered [to see myself linked with Chelsea and Arsenal],” he said.
“But, at the same time, I am so focused about getting out of the Championship with Brentford that I do not pay too much attention. But it gives me confidence.”
He also refused to rule out staying with the Bees, adding: “It has always been a target of mine to play in the Premier League. I really wish to play in the Premier League with Brentford.
“It would be magnificent for Brentford because it would be the first time and we have really been working hard on it.”
Leeds linked with Bryan swoop
Brentford will do well to keep hold of Benrahma even if they get promoted. However, failure to go up will almost certainly confirm the Algerian’s departure. Leeds fans might be rooting for Fulham for that reason.
On the other hand, the Whites could also move for Fulham left-back Joe Bryan should Brentford be the victors on Tuesday.
Bryan was a target for Leeds back in his Bristol City days and left-back is an area Marcelo Bielsa is keen to strengthen this summer.
Leeds will most likely be in the market for a striker this summer too. Aleksandar Mitrovic, the division’s Golden Boot winner may also be considered. They will be looking to take some of the goalscoring burden off Patrick Bamford.
First the worst, second the best
Football fans might expect Champions Leeds United to perform best upon arrival in the Premier League next season, but clubs are better off winning promotion through second place, according to new historical research.
The study from FreeSuperTips looked at every Championship promotion since the Playoffs began in 1987 and found that teams promoted in second place will spend an average of five years in the topflight – longer than any other method of promotion.
Despite a superior performance in England’s second tier, clubs coming up as Champions last one fewer season on average, while Playoff winners have a typical stay of just two years, with 61% of teams going straight back down again.
In fact, there are no clear advantages of being promoted as champions as the research also reveals that those coming up in either first or second place average the same amount of points (40) in their first Premier League season. The Playoff winners hit a mere 36 points on average in their first season in the Premier League.
Since the beginning of the Playoffs in 1987, Newcastle United and Nottingham Forest have earned the most points after being promoted from the Championship. The 1992/93 Championship winners and the 1993/94 automatic promoted side, both won 77 points, finishing an impressive third place the following season in the Premier League.
Blackburn Rovers are the most successful Playoff winners (1991/92) in the last 31 years, earning themselves 71 points in their first season in the Premier League – more than anyone other than the Magpies and Forest.
A spokesperson from FreeSuperTips said: “As a traditionally big club with a world class manager, lots of people will be expecting Leeds to stay in the Premier League, but according to our research, they might not be around for too long.
“Since 1987, it has traditionally been the team who finishes second in the Championship that is the most successful in the Premier League – this could mean good things for Slaven Bilić and West Brom.”