Leeds United have blazed their way through early opposition in this season’s Sky Bet Championship. Already only five games in, the Whites are unbeaten and topping the table.
Their brand of football is sparkling and scintillating, the Bielsa effect already showing as sides such as Stoke City, Derby County and Norwich have been steamrollered. Good teams have, effectively, been crushed by the oppressive nature of football that Leeds United are playing.
It is high-intensity, high-pressure football, a style of play that forces sides onto the back foot and playing deep. Leeds United are doing this with a small squad, pared down to its most bare of essentials by Bielsa whose belief in a minimalist squad creating hunger in his players is a definite part of his ethos.
One member of this squad, one of the pared down, barest essentials is Spaniard Samu Saiz. He is one of the creative players at Elland Road who is making the Whites tick this season. He has this ability to turn a game on its head, his running forcing teams to either commit to defending on the retreat or to bring him down.
Saiz has completed 2.9 of his dribbles per game from a total 3.5 attempts, helping to drive Leeds forward. He also has an eye for a pass, creating 1.5 chances per game with his passes and always having an eye for a defence-splitting with his ability to play players through and into space.
Earlier today, Phil Hay writing on his personal Twitter account and as written about here on The72, stated that Leeds United are looking at the last throes of the loan window to bring in a Premier League player, a “midfielder to cover Saiz,” mentioning that “they’re chasing one before the deadline.”
Fans across social media are quick to worry about the seeming paucity of Leeds United’s squad, fearing that the player culls instilled by Bielsa will stretch the squad to such an extent that it becomes threadbare. A loan move for a Premier League player would be something of a wise move for a season still 41 games from its end.
However, Sun reporter Alan Nixon has some reservations about this move, and common sense reservations at that:
As Nixon points out, Premier League clubs will be very reluctant to loan out upcoming players just to sit on the bench as ‘cover’. You only have to look at the reported penalties that Liverpool insist upon for players that are loaned and not played regularly.
With these sort of penalties, and with Leeds United looking for cover for Samu Saiz, Whites fans should ask themselves whether it is worth being potentially penalised for loaning in a Premier League midfielder as cover.