¿Quien? That’s the utterance that many Leeds United fans would have been mouthing when the name ‘Samu Saiz’ came into the transfer reckoning.
When links with the diminutive Spanish forward came to the attention of Whites fans, it was a scurry to YouTube and preferred search engines to glean whatever information they could about Saiz. Such searches would have uncovered that he was coming off of a decent enough season with former side SD Huesca.
During Huesca’s charge up the La Liga 2 table, Saiz played a vital role in performances that drove the Aragon-based side to the play-offs and the brink of promotion to La Liga proper. It wasn’t to be and Huesca’s misfortune proved to be Leeds United’s luck with Saiz arriving as one of the Whites’ marquee summer signings.
He arrived from Huesca’s ‘nearly’ season with 12 goals and eight assists to his name, with his £3 million arrival at Elland Road marking the first time he’s played football outside of his native Spain. He’s not doing too shabbily in the Sky Bet Championship either, having scored five goals, provided five assists and won many plaudits.
However, it is safe to say that as Leeds United’s form has dropped so as the form of their Spanish attacking midfielder. That spark that drove the whole team towards the dizzying heights of the top of the table has been dulled somewhat. Instead of vigour and panache, Leeds United are a side playing as though they are knitting fog; they are a side in a general malaise.
Like the cholera outbreaks of the 1850s, that team malaise has also infected Samu Saiz. No longer are Leeds fans seeing that poise and general high level of skill in the copious amounts that he seemed to have earlier in the campaign. Earlier in the campaign he played with such aplomb that it seemed as though he was almost arrogantly dismissive of opponents. One lofted-in chipped pass against Burton Albion at Elland Road, after stamping down on the ball to flick it up, was par for the Samu Saiz course.
That’s largely gone, yet flickering embers of it still remain. True, it isn’t the roaring fire that it once was. Yet, just as a heavyweight boxer loses speed but retains power, Saiz’s punch is still there, still there and lurking.
Samu Saiz – reminders of the little magician
Leeds United fans everywhere will be pressing palms together, either literally or figuratively and praying for one thing – the return of the little Spanish magician and his bag of early season tricks.