Last season, Leeds United were, in the main, in one of the two automatic promotion places for most of the campaign, but a mini crumble from Easter, along with a painfully full injury room, meant that they eventually finished in third spot.
Of last seasons squad, Leeds have seen two first team regulars leave in the shape of Kemar Roofe and Pontus Jansson, along with many, many fringe players, lowering the wage bill and bringing the club well in line with Financial Fair Play.
Of the squad that remains, along with a few very calculated additions via the loan market, Leeds United have again started well this season, losing only one of their opening six matches and winning four.
Here I take a look at the five players who I believe will have the biggest say in whether or not Leeds United will be a Premier League club next season…
1- Kalvin Phillips
Having recently signed a new five year deal with his hometown club, Phillips has become a player that Leeds United can not be without. His energy and reading of the game is second to none and within Marcelo Bielsa’s system, Phillips is a man who is very close to being indispensable.
2- Pablo Hernandez
Even at the delicate age of 34, Pablo Hernandez is still the creative cog that keeps this team ticking along, showing no signs of losing his legs and still playing as a winger, even though his preferred position would be the number ten role, Hernandez continues to defy the ageing process and terrorises defences on a weekly basis.
3- Liam Cooper
Captain Cooper has been another revelation under Bielsa’s stewardship, his defending has definitely improved, but his leadership and ability to represent his club incredibly professionally both on and off the pitch is one of the clearest things within the squad that has developed. IF he stays fit, he will be a major player for The Whites this season.
4- Helder Costa
Only having cameo roles from the bench so far, Costa (a summer addition from Wolves) has pedigree in this league. His performances for Wolves a couple of seasons ago were a major reason for them getting to the Premier League and I’m sure, with Leeds’ injury record recently, his chance will come sooner rather than later.
5- Eddie Nketiah
A deadline day loan from Arsenal, Nketiah has started life in Leeds with three goals, even though he has been used predominantly from the bench, his pace is frightening and his eye for goal equally so. But with Patrick Bamford also on form, he is a superb player to bring off the bench to make an impact… until he gets his opportunity from the start.
Other players will undeniably play their part for Leeds this summer, but in my opinion the above names will have a huge say in proceedings at Elland Road this season.