In the grand scheme of things, Leeds United have put their play-off disappointment behind them fairly quickly and are already looking ahead to another year under Marcelo Bielsa.
Leeds fell apart during the last month of the Championship season gone by and are now facing a 16th year outside the Premier League. It was Derby County who inflicted the final blow to Bielsa’s side, winning 4-3 on aggregate against the Whites in the play-offs.
One of Derby’s heroes during their memorable comeback at Elland Road was Harry Wilson, on loan from Liverpool and the scorer of 16 goals across his breakthrough season in senior football.
Such was the 22-year-old’s impact at Derby, Danny Mills has called for Leeds to stump up the £4m loan fee to sign him next season.
“If there is no money to spend, they could sell Jack Clarke for £12million and use the proceeds to bring in Harry Wilson on loan and a couple of others,” he told Football Insider.
“They could get Wilson for £4million for the season if Liverpool don’t want to sell him, and he is someone proven in the Championship who will get you goals, take brilliant set pieces and create chances.”
And, you’ve got to feel that Mills is right when he highlights what Wilson would add to the side at Elland Road.
He scored 16 goals in the Championship last season – one more than Leeds’ top goalscorer Kemar Roofe – as well as registering four assists. In truth, Leeds were toothless in attack and their lack of clinical edge was what cost them promotion. Both Roofe and Patrick Bamford were guilty of missing chances, whilst their wingers weren’t prolific enough, with the exception of Pablo Hernandez.
The 22-year-old would fit Bielsa’s systems and is versatile in where he can play; he’s at his best on the right side of the attack, but is equally comfortable on the left or in the No.10 role.
Mills notes Wilson’s wicked set-piece delivery, which were something of a trademark as the season progressed. The Liverpool loanee scored from three free-kicks last year, as well as striking three penalties, which were a problem in their own for Leeds towards the run-in.
Derby were the 13th most productive team in the Championship from set-pieces last season, which isn’t brilliant, but is not down to Wilson’s failings. The Rams were one place ahead of Leeds, who, as per whoscored.com, scored 18% (14) of their goals from set-pieces.
With players like Liam Cooper, Luke Ayling, Pontus Jansson and Bamford in the side that simply isn’t good enough. Fingers will be pointed to the delivery, which was inconsistent, but Wilson is a threat from these situations and seeing the Welshman standing over a dead-ball did leave your heart in your mouth, you felt something was going to happen.
Wilson’s productivity in the final third makes him such an attractive option for Leeds, and he’d be a statement signing for the Whites to make heading into next season, but ultimately you’ve got to say he’d be an unrealistic addition for the Elland Road outfit.
After involvement in 20 goals in a single Championship season and proving to be Derby’s best player in their run to the play-off final, Wilson will feel he’s conquered the division and is ready for a shot at the Premier League.
In addition to that, talk of Liverpool wanting a £4m loan fee is another stumbling block for Leeds. However much he’d improve the Whites’ chance of promotion, Andrea Radrizzani has already commented on the ‘difficult’ summer facing the club, so it is hard to see them pushing the boat out on a loanee.
The perks of having Wilson on board are obvious to see, but despite Leeds looking to put last season behind them, you’ve got to feel more realistic targets have to be on the radar.