It was an almost, almost season for Leeds United last time out. In the end it proved a little too much too far and the Premier League must wait at least another year.
It’s going to be Leeds United’s centenary year/season come August, what a year to go up to the best league in football. Rubbing shoulders with some of the best players in the world, the prestige of playing against sides like Manchester City and Liverpool.
Yet, Leeds United being Leeds United aren’t going to do it the easy way, owner Andrea Radrizzani already foreseeing difficulties with the summer transfer windows. After being trolled by their own club Twitter account, Whites fans are used to things being ‘difficult’.
However, there’s difficult and then there’s being told that the club will run a difficult transfer window. Quoted in the Yorkshire Evening Post, Radrizzani said: “We’ll have to run a difficult summer in terms of the transfer market but we have a great academy.”
Leeds fans fear the former, whilst knowing the latter. The academy at Thorp Arch has done bits this season, but could it sustain a Premier League push? It was extensively used this season, and the YEP’s Phil Hay points out two players who Bielsa intends to work in more next season: Jamie Shackleton and Ryan Edmondson.
19-year-old Shackleton has notched up 19 Sky Bet Championship appearances this season, contributing two assists. He’s definitely a player whose industry and fearless demeanour will adjust to more game time next season. In what fans got to see, there was a general agreement that he acquitted himself more than well enough. A full preseason under the hand of Marcelo Bielsa and the Whites could have an even better player on their hands.
Edmondson has just turned 18 a mere three days ago. He was brought to Leeds from York City in early November 2017. He was powerful and raw, a player that some said had potential. Last season, for the Under-23s, the York-born youngster more than proved that. Across the Under-23s season, a then 17-year-old Edmondson hit 19 goals. He bullied players much older, and more experienced, than him. He has made one appearance for the first team last season, turning out against Birmingham City in a 2-1 loss at Elland Road.
Whilst it is encouraging that Bielsa and the club have faith in the strength of the academy set-up, one really has to question whether this is akin to sticking an Elastoplast over a hairline crack in the Hoover Dam. Short-termism is an accusation thrown around at times as teams look for that quick fix. Could it be an apt term here?