Marcelo Bielsa has been tipped to bolster Leeds’ ranks in the January window to solve something of an ongoing issue in the Leeds midfield.
United have made a bright start to life back in the Premier League and climbed to third after a 3-0 win at Aston Villa last month.
However, successive 4-1 defeats have seen Leeds slip down to 15th in a compact Premier League table.
During the last three games, Leeds have been unable to call upon the services of Kalvin Phillips. The midfielder has been nursing a shoulder injury since the 1-0 home defeat to Wolves.
The defensive midfielder is one of the best in the business. It was no surprise when England recognition came his way.
During his absence, Leeds have played both Pascal Struijk and Mateusz Klich in his position. However, neither has excelled in the role.
There is hope the player could return for Sunday’s mouthwatering clash against Arsenal at Elland Road.
Even so, Paul Robinson reckons Bielsa could look to strenthen his midfield options when the transfer window opens in January.
Speaking with MOTLeedsnews, the pundit acknowledges it is not the first time Leeds have struggled whenever Phillips can’t play.
“The last two games have highlighted just how important Kalvin Phillips is to the way that Bielsa plays,” Robinson said.
“Leeds were without Phillips for two spells last season, too.
The first, they really struggled. The second time, Ben White had adapted to the role and there was no issue there.
“Now Ben White has gone, he [Bielsa] is really struggling to find someone who can fill in there.
“He’s played Klich there, he’s played Struijk there, he’s rotated during the games and he’s still nowhere near finding the perfect solution.
“Phillips is an absolutely vital player for Leeds and the way they play. If they are going to be without him for any length of time they are going to have to find a replacement for him in the January window.”
Phillips delighted for in-form Bamford
Phillips, meanwhile, is delighted to see Patrick Bamford earning credit for his rich vein of form at Leeds – and insists he always knew he had goals in him.
The striker has, in the past, struggled for consistency in front of goal and has come in for lots of criticism. His profligacy in front of goal even drew some words of advice from Ian Wright earlier this year.
With the stats showing Bamford needed four chances to score one goal, doubts emerged whether he could step up in the Premier League.
However, it’s been a different story this season. Bamford has seven goals in eight appearances so far; it should be eight in eight but for a controversial VAR incident last weekend.
Phillips, however, was always adamant the striker had goals in his game.
“Last year was tough for Pat. He had a lot of stick. I had family and friends saying, ‘what’s Bamford doing? Is he a good player?’
“Let me tell you this, Pat’s an unbelievable player,” Phillips told The Times.