Now the news that Marcelo Bielsa will stay on at Leeds for another year has been confirmed, the Argentine can begin to prepare his squad for next season, and scour the market for the players that will take Leeds to the next step.
Bielsa has made a name for himself around the world for his high-paced, energetic and intense style of play, and he has brought the same to Leeds.
It was pivotal to Leeds’ success earlier in the season, but he has long been accused on causing his players to burnout, and the same happened this year as Leeds fell to third place in the latter part of the season.
With Samuel Saiz looking likely to leave Elland Road according to Football Insider, Bielsa will be in search of another winger, and here are three which would fit perfectly into his system:
The Algerian has had a hugely impressive season for Brentford, and was a huge factor behind Neal Maupay’s 25 league goals this season.
Benrahma made the most assists of any Championship player this season, with 14 in total, and his tricky footwork and sharp turn of pace proved problematic for Championship defences all season.
It is just not his pace which counts in his favour, but his flexibility.
He can operate down both flanks and links up well with his striker. His selflessness is also rare for a player of his style and that would see him work well with players like Kemar Roofe and Pablo Hernandez.
Bielsa requires his players to work hard, and Benrahma is capable of this, but it does require some work.
Bielsa is the type of manager players would do anything to please. The Bees man no doubt has the technical quality, and if he works on the pressing side of his game then he will be a key player should Leeds manage to sign him.
What’s not to like about Joe Lolley. He epitomises hard work, has an eye for goal and has proved himself to be one of the best wingers in the league since joining Nottingham Forest. Like Benrahma, he has made an impressive number of assists this season, 11, and was key in Forest challenging for the play-offs for most of the season.
The game time has been valuable to Lolley, who is no longer the talented but raw winger who signed for Huddersfield in 2016. He has fine-tuned his game, and mastered the art of the press, which will be key in playing for Bielsa. On top of this he has become a lot more productive, and has scored 15 goals in his time at Forest.
Another aspect of his game which suits Bielsa is the fact he is an inverted winger, always looking to cut in from the right onto his left foot. This is how Bielsa used his wingers this season, and it got the best out of Mateusz Klich in particular. Lolley would relish the opportunity to play for a club like Leeds, and he would likely become a fan favourite in no time.
Perhaps a surprise inclusion on this list, since he has struggled with injury for much of the season. But the Irish international has qualities which are perfect for Bielsa’s system, and since The Times reported that he wants to leave Leeds have been linked with his signing.
O’Dowda scored five goals and made four assists for Bristol City this season, and despite injury problems in recent years he continues to develop. He would offer Leeds something different to what they already have and to the two aforementioned players. He is an out-and-out winger blessed with pace, he loves to charge down the left and whip crosses into the box, and would therefore suit Patrick Bamford.
Like Lolley likes to harry players and pressure defenders into mistakes. Bielsa would be able to slot him in down the left as an alternative to Klich, who prefers to cut in and run at players, and his hard work off the ball is exactly what Bielsa wants from his midfield men.