When Marcelo Bielsa walked through the door at Leeds United, it was both a welcome surprise and a dawning realisation for Whites fans.
Never in their wildest dreams could these fans have imagined that the club could attract such a respected, high-profile manager as Bielsa to drop into management in English football’s second-tier competition.
Realisation-wise, fans would need to get used to the fact that the dogged Argentinian has his own, often peculiar, way of doing things – a way that he insists happens.
Not that fans are complaining as the Whites reap the rewards of BielsaBall in a campaign that has them sitting pretty in second in the Sky Bet Championship table.
One of the things that Bielsa insisted on was that the first-team playing squad be trimmed of its fat, reduced back to the most lean of lean minimums. Yes, fans are concerned that the pull on players, pulls such as injury and fatigue, will be a detriment as the campaign develops.
Injuries are taking their toll, and fixes are having to be applied. One of the other things that was a by-product of Bielsa’s pared down squad concept, was that those deemed surplus to immediate requirements were either sold, released, or shipped out of Elland Road on loan deals.
One of these deals saw Swedish forward Pawel Cibicki, a £1.4million, 2017 buy from Malmö, head back to Scandinavia on a half-season loan deal to Norwegian Eliteserien club Molde FK. He’d featured just seven times for Leeds during the 2017/18 Championship campaign, providing two assists.
His time over in Norway has seen him feature in 11 games for Molde, scoring twice and providing three assists. Whilst you can knock the supposed difference in standard that the Eliteserien competition has over the Championship, what cannot be knocked is the output that Cibicki is producing.
Last time out, against 11th place Start, Cibicki was again on the scoresheet, this goal backing up one that he scored nine games earlier against SK Brann. It raises an interesting question as to whether Cibicki should be brought back into the fold at Elland Road for the arduous January to May part of the current campaign.
In a way, it would be a similar leap of faith to the one Bielsa took when seeing something in Polish midfielder Mateusz Klich. He’d been out on loan back to Holland, his time at Elland Road seemingly up. Yet he managed to convince Bielsa that he had a future at Leeds United – and look at what he’s gone on to achieve so far.
With that in mind, maybe January would be an ideal time to add another helping of Swede to the post-Christmas menu at Elland Road in the shape of Pawel Cibicki.