This article is part of Football League World’s ‘The Verdict’ series, which provides personal opinions from the FLW writers regarding the latest breaking news, teams, players, managers, potential signings and more…
Leeds United are eyeing a move for Blackburn Rovers midfielder John Buckley, according to Sky Sports transfer centre (14/01, 11:24am).
The 22-year-old has been a pivotal figure in Rovers’ promotion push this term – contributing a goal and six assists as he’s helped them battle at the top of the Championship table.
But would he be a good signing for the Whites? And do they need him?
Our FLW writers share their thoughts…
This one feels a little bit early.
Buckley is a great prospect at 22 and is having a coming-of-age season at Blackburn Rovers.
However, it feels like such a good fit at this stage of his career, with his contract running until the summer of 2024, and Buckley would be in a better place to make the step up to the Premier League after another season or so of regular Championship football.
The style of play that Bielsa implements is so demanding, that it would be very tough to hit the ground running in the second half of the campaign even disregarding the step up a division.
There is no need to sell Buckley in this window given his contract situation and given his importance to all aspects of Rovers’ play at the moment, he should not be sold.
Maybe at the end of next season Buckley should be eyeing a move to the top-flight rather than right now.
Can you name which club Blackburn Rovers signed these 28 defenders from?
I’m not entirely sure that Buckley is ready for the Premier League yet.
He has been somewhat of a regular feature in and around Blackburn’s first team for the last couple of seasons but it’s only in the current campaign where he’s putting everything together and becoming more consistent.
However I think it may be another year before he’s ready to make that step up to the top flight.
Buckley though is a very effective box-to-box man who has skills in both defence and attack, including the ability to pick apart a defence with his passing.
It’s that creativity that Leeds have probably picked up on but I think Marcelo Bielsa could do better.
This does look as though it would be a very good signing for Leeds.
It is clear that they need to add another midfielder to their squad during the January transfer window, and Buckley could be a decent option to fill that role.
The 22-year-old has demonstrated for Blackburn this season that he possesses both the range of passing to create chances for the attackers in front of him, and the tenacity and tackling ability to protect the defence behind him.
Given Leeds have had some issues with both in the centre of the park this season, that could make Buckley a very useful asset for them.
However, with so long remaining on his contract at Blackburn, and the club in a position where they are not going to want to sell key players midway through a promotion battle, it would be a big surprise to see this move happen this month.