Former Leeds United striker Noel Whelan has urged the Whites to address the centre of their defence if they win promotion to the Premier League in an interview with Football Insider.
Whelan has claimed that Leeds will need to go and buy a centre-back even if they manage to buy on-loan defender Ben White from Brighton and Hove Albion.
This season, Marcelo Bielsa has had club captain Liam Cooper, Ben White and Gaetano Berardi as his three recognised central defenders but Whelan thinks that Berardi in particular would struggle against the world’s best strikers in the top-flight.
“We need Ben White and another centre-half,” he said. “We are lacking in this area. If we lose White we only have Berardi.”
“He is a fantastic player but you are talking about the Premier League potentially. The likes of Aubameyang, Kane, Salah, Mane, Firmino, Aguero – they are a different level all together.”
“You cannot compare playing against them to Vokes and Ayew. The Premier League players have so much more pace and so much more ability,” he continued.
“We need to be realistic if we get promoted. We need a squad big enough and good enough to cope with these demands and Berardi has not got the quality to deal with those top players week in, week out. Let’s be honest this is a different level.”
Whelan certainly makes a valid point in claiming that Leeds will need to address this position as at times Cooper has suffered with injuries and with White far from certain to return they will need to make defensive reinforcements.
White has attracted interest from elite Premier League sides and should he not make the return to Elland Road this would be a huge blow to Leeds United.