Andy Couzens has been running the rule over Leeds United’s business during the January transfer window, with it the view of the former Whites midfielder that it will be deemed a success if the players signed impact the remainder of the season.
Leeds brought in Jean-Kevin Augustin and Ian Poveda in January to replace the departed Eddie Nketiah and Jack Clarke, with Elia Caprile also arriving to add depth to the goalkeeping department.
Marcelo Bielsa prefers to work with a trimmed squad, but with pressure on him to deliver a promotion for Leeds this season, questions have been raised whether the Whites have done enough in January to get them over the line.
That question was put to Couzens this week by Football League World’s Chief Editor Sam Rourke, with the former Leeds man impressed by the pedigree of signings like Augustin and Poveda.
He said: “I think the bit of business that we’ve done is good business. ‘Big Kev’ (Augustin) is a good signing, he’s got good pedigree and has played at some top, top clubs. We just need to see what he’s like on the pitch.
“It’s always tough to come into a Bielsa team. He needs you to be fully fit before he puts you in. He will also keep faith with the players he’s got at the same time.”
Both Augustin and Poveda are attacking players who will hopefully help to address Leeds’ lack of goals this season, but no effort went into sourcing cover for Ben White or Liam Cooper at centre-back, which was Bielsa’s preference.
For Couzens, that is a concern, but he believes the addition of Augustin from RB Leipzig and Poveda from Manchester City could help Leeds win promotion.
He continued: “I wish we’d have maybe got a centre-half in, we are a little bit short back there, but the two lads that have come in have got good pedigree and have come from big clubs with big managers.
“They are ready to go onto the big stage and that’s hopefully what’s going to happen. Hopefully in the last 10-14 games of the season we see the best of them and they can fire us into the Premier League.”
It was a tough market for Leeds to deal in over the course of January, particularly as they aimed to replace Nketiah and add another striker to the squad.
Promotion rivals West Brom and Nottingham Forest were also in pursuit of a striker, and it is the view of Couzens that had any other team in the top-four had Fulham star Aleksandar Mitrovic, they’d have been up.
“Every club wanted a striker, every club took a risk on a striker,” he continued. “If we’d all had a Mitrovic, we’d be 20 points clear.
“It’s an okay window. It’s not the best we’ve ever had, but it’s an okay window. But, if the two lads come in and score some goals, it turns into a great window.”
Neither Augustin nor Poveda will score the goals of Mitrovic (21 and counting) between now and the end of the season, but if they can start tipping the tight games in Leeds’ favour, they’ll have had the desired impact.