Huddersfield Town resisted the temptation to lean too heavily on Carlos Corberan’s connections at Leeds United back in the summer transfer window.
It would have been easy to pick up two or three of the youth set-up from Elland Road in the transfer window given Corberan’s connections at Leeds. However, Huddersfield took on a different direction to mould the Spaniard’s squad at the John Smith’s Stadium.
Stretching back to the summer, Robbie Gotts was the only Leeds player that was linked heavily with a move to Huddersfield. The midfielder is highly-rated at Elland Road and thrived under Corberan in the under-23s. However, in the end, he only sourced a League One move to Lincoln City and, right now, he’s on the books with Salford City a division below.
Gotts was one of a host of Leeds players to head out on loan, with others like Alfie McCalmont, Jordan Stevens and Bryce Hosannah all getting lower league moves.
To put it frankly, the players that Leeds were putting up for the offer of a loan back in the summer weren’t at the level required for the Championship. That’s maybe a harsh view given we are talking about young footballers, but nobody swooped to offer Leeds’ pool of talent that chance in the division they had just vacated, not even Corberan with all the faith he had in them.
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Banging on about Leeds’ success isn’t something Huddersfield fans will want to read about, but the evolution of the Elland Road club in the coming summer could really become something of a focus at the John Smith’s Stadium in the coming transfer window.
All being well, Corberan will be planning for a second season in the Championship with the Terriers. He will be better for the experience of what 2020/21 has thrown up and, just up the road at Leeds, there might be a few more presentable opportunities to strengthen his Huddersfield squad.
Marcelo Bielsa will be looking to add more quality to his squad to get them challenging for a place in the top-half of the Premier League. The circle of life – if you will – at the football club means that those on the fringes now will be at risk of moving on.
The general feeling around Elland Road is that Tyler Roberts or Helder Costa could be two of Bielsa’s squad that find themselves at risk. That’s despite the pair both featuring in Saturday’s goalless draw with Chelsea, with the former even picking up the Man of the Match award.
Elder members of Leeds’ squad – Gaetano Berardi and Pablo Hernandez – might move on, but their destination is likely to be back into Europe. As for Adam Forshaw, his injury record needs putting straight before anything materialises.
On the face of things, a player like Roberts could be ideal for Corberan. The Welsh international is a versatile forward capable of playing wide, in the No.10 position or as a main striker. Through the middle as the focal point in attack, Roberts has shown excellent spells for Leeds, striking twice in a 4-0 rout at Hull City in 2019/20 and even causing Chelsea issues on Saturday when he pushed on to replace Patrick Bamford.
Costa could too be an attractive option to Huddersfield. The Portuguese winger has two promotions to his name out of the Championship, but has lost his place at Elland Road to Brazilian, Raphinha.
However, with a long-term contract behind him and age not quite on his side like Roberts, it might push the Terriers in this financial climate.
The fact remains, though, that if Corberan wants to visit his former club asking for favours, he’s likely to meet a very different calibre of player in 2021. Of course, the youngsters remain and opportunities to develop the likes of Gotts will still be there.
Yet, the potential to take on a Roberts or player of that ilk will surely appeal to Corberan and the Huddersfield hierarchy.
There was no knocking on Leeds’ door for more when they swooped for Corberan, but the dynamic at Elland Road has changed now and Huddersfield might be that little bit more tempted to explore their head-coach’s list of contacts.