Leeds could replace Pontus Jansson with Gary Cahill after the player’s representatives offered him to the club, as reported by Football Insider.
Cahill didn’t feature much for Chelsea last season and was subsequently released upon the expiry of his contract, prompting speculation that he could return to former club Aston Villa.
However, the signing of Tyrone Mings by Villa means Cahill may have to look elsewhere, and there is a gap in the Leeds backline which he could fill.
It would be somewhat surprising to see the 33-year-old drop down a division, as he still has quality to offer a Premier League side. Given the lack of interest from clubs in the top-tier, it raises the question of whether Cahill still has it in him to perform on a regular basis.
Here are two pros and two cons to Leeds signing the former England international.
Good on the ball
Throughout his career, Cahill has excelled with the ball at his feet, whether that is playing long passes to forwards or dribbling out from the back, and it was a big reason in his success at club and international level.
Bielsa requires his defenders to have good footballing ability, and it is integral to the way he wants to play.
Cahill would be a suitable option for Bielsa in this regard, his composed and calm demeanour on the ball would relieve pressure on the defence and allow Leeds to retain possession even in difficult circumstances.
He will add much-needed leadership
Cahill has captained Chelsea and has been a big influence in dressing rooms at World Cups and in Champions League matches.
He has experienced tense, high-pressure environments and come out on top, and that influence would be crucial for Leeds in their push for promotion.
It is an aspect the squad lacked last season, and that was a factor in their form tailing off. Cahill would organise not only the defence but the whole team and get them believing they can beat any opposition they face.
Fitness could be a concern
He only featured eight times in all competitions last season, so will need to get up to speed and may take a few matches until he is 100% fit.
He is also now missing out on pre-season training, and Bielsa’s pre-season is more intense than most so it could be some time before he proves his fitness to Bielsa, by which time Leeds could find themselves well behind in the promotion race.
Added to that, he has not always enjoyed the best luck with injuries over his career and Leeds simply couldn’t afford to pay high wages to a player who may not play regularly.
Physical attributes have diminished somewhat
At 33 Cahill has slowed down drastically since when he was at his peak, and he could struggle to keep up with Championship attackers, particularly when they are breaking away – which is a likely occurrence given Leeds’ dominant style.
As well as that, his reactions and agility have likely suffered from a lack of game time. Cahill always played best when he had one striker to take care of and defend against, but in the Championship teams like to play with inter-changing forwards, and Cahill could take a while to adjust.