Last season for Leeds United fans was a season that finally brought a sense of hope back to Elland Road. Following on from a disappointing 13th place finish the season before, it was more than an antidote to drudgery.
Under Marcelo Bielsa, the Whites sparkled and snarled and displayed a level of football that fans had long hoped for, yet hadn’t dared to dream ever existed. Yet exist it did, and Leeds fans got to see it in all its glory.
It wasn’t enough to drive them to the promised land that is the Premier League, they fell and the penultimate hurdle in losing 4-3 on aggregate to Derby County just over a week ago. Thoughts from then have turned to next season, many fans urging the club to start their planning and business straight away.
Most of these fans will agree on two things: Marcelo Bielsa needs to be retained for another tilt at the Premier League, and new players need to be brought in to plug gaps. The strength-in-depth at Elland Road was severely tested last season as Bielsa ran with a lean squad in terms of numbers.
Injuries also cut deep into playing stock at Elland Road, meaning that reinforcements needed to be made by dipping into the talented stock at Thorp Arch and the Under-23s. It is this threadbare stretching to the limits that fans want to see addressed come this next transfer window.
However, club owner Andrea Radrizzani has already said that the Whites will operate a “difficult” transfer window. This has led many Leeds fans to surmise that it will be a window fuelled by a sell-to-buy policy led by departures such as Pontus Jansson and/or Jack Clarke.
Leeds do continue to be linked with players, names such as Portsmouth winger Jamal Lowe being mentioned for next season. There are others being mentioned, and Phil Hay names two who ply their trade on the continent. In an article in the Yorkshire Evening Post, Hay mentions that Fenerbache striker Michael Frey and St Gallen defender Silvan Hefti are on the Whites radar.
Leeds United linked with Michael Frey (Fenerbache) and Silvan Hefti (FC St Gallen)
Michael Frey (Fenerbache)
24-year-old Switzerland U-21 international Frey is currently on the books at Turkish Super Lig side Fenerbache, having transferred there only in late August last year. Prior to that he was on the books of FC Zurich having started out his career in Switzerland with Young Boys. His first big move came wit ha £2.7million transfer to Ligue 1 side Lille in September 2014 as a 19-year-old. This season he’s scored five goals (one assist) in 25 games across all competitions. He’s featured most for Young Boys (133 games), scoring 37 goals and adding 20 assists in his time at the club.
Silvan Hefti (FC St Gallen)
21-year-old Hefti is a nine-cap Switzerland Under-21 international, having made his debut at that level in 2016. He’s been at current club St Gallen since signing as a youth player in 2009. He’s progressed up the levels at the club, to the point where he was last season’s captain. He turned out mainly as a centre-back (28 games/two goals/one assist) whilst also filling in for 11 games at right-back. Since breaking into the first-team at St Gallen, he’s featured for them on 134 occasions, including in two Europa League qualifying ties.