There’s a new name on the Leeds United radar if reports are to be believed, with Football Insider claiming that the Whites are in the race to sign Brentford midfielder, Romaine Sawyers.
Leeds are set to rival Celtic for the service of the 27-year-old, who has established himself as a key part of Brentford’s side over the years.
In this latest FLW Six Pointer, Alfie Burns breaks down the links…
Firstly, tell us a little bit about Sawyers?
“Sawyers is a central midfield player that’s capable of operating in various roles, whether that’s in attacking midfield or more of a box-to-box type player.
“The 27-year-old has a good engine on him and possesses great passing ability, which he’s proved in a good footballing side at Brentford since his arrival in 2016.
“He’s made 127 Championship appearances for the Bees in three seasons, comfortably playing 40+ games a campaign and chipping in with a total of six goals.”
Would he be a good addition for Leeds and what would he bring?
“Sawyers has been a regular in an impressive Brentford side over the years, and in truth, the Bees should’ve achieved more than they have, key departures have just held them back.
“In my eyes, it’d be a coup to bring him to Elland Road and he’d bring plenty in the middle of the pitch.
“His goal and assist record over the years isn’t great, but he’s comfortable in two or three roles in the middle of the park and his passing game is strong, with the 27-year-old finishing last year with a success rate of nearly 90%.
“Sawyers has good energy and a presence, which can’t be underestimated in the Championship, no matter how intricate Leeds’ interplay can be.”
So, where would he fit into Marcelo Bielsa’s side?
“Should Kalvin Phillips stick around he’s got the holding midfield spot nailed down, but Bielsa likes to play with two central players slightly more advanced and that’s where I’d see Sawyers slotting in.
“He wouldn’t score the goals that Mateusz Klich does, but if Leeds went to a 3-3-1-3 system – which they have in the opening two games of pre-season – Sawyers would be the perfect man to slot in between the back-three and No.10.
“The midfielder’s passing game would help Leeds move from defence to attack with fluidity, whilst his presence means he could marshal that area with limited problems.
“A knock-on effect would be a little bit more flexibility in where Pablo Hernandez can play, which given his role in the side is no bad thing.”
How much should the Whites be looking to pay for the 27-year-old’s signature?
“There’s talk from Football Insider that Brentford have rejected a £2m bid from Celtic for the midfielder, but you wouldn’t want to be paying much more than that given Sawyers is entering the final 12 months of his Brentford contract.
“Anything below the £3m mark would be good business for Leeds in my eyes, but pushing much above that would be a mistake – Leeds aren’t exactly desperate for midfield options given they have Phillips, Klich, Adam Forshaw and plenty of youngsters.”
How will Leeds fans be feeling about the links?
“It’s an interesting one and I’m sure it’ll divide the Elland Road faithful.
“Sawyers, for me, had a big impact against Leeds in the past, but his goal and assist record – six goals and 17 assists – isn’t the best over the last three years.
“However, you’d be naïve to think that was all Sawyers could bring, and having watched Brentford closely in recent years, he’s vital to the way they play and a midfielder of his ilk could be useful to Whites in a number of systems.”
“He’d fit in well into the 3-3-1-3, as mentioned, whilst at Brentford he’s been effective in a 4-3-3 and 3-4-3, with his role changing from an attacking one to a more disciplined one.”
Finally, can you see Sawyers being open to the move?
“It’s worth noting that Brentford will be having a real go alongside Leeds in the Championship next season, and the fact they’ve landed the service of the Whites’ best centre-back in Pontus Jansson is a sign of intent.
“Sawyers might feel he’s got just as much chance of promotion sticking around with the Bees, but he will be aware of his contract situation and you’d imagine playing under Marcelo Bielsa might be a factor.
“A deal wouldn’t be straightforward and Leeds would have work to do to convince him to move. However, I feel if Leeds really wanted the deal to happen, they could do it.”