The Marcelo Bielsa revolution at Elland Road has revitalised a Leeds United side who had been languishing in the lower leagues for too long, and it now looks like the club are set to finally return to the Premier League.
Despite the unknown ramifications of Covid-19 on the footballing season, if all goes to plan, the top tier will be host to the Whites once more after a 16 year absence.
The joyous nature of Bielsa’s dynamic football has breathed new life into the club, the fans and the city, who have been starved of enjoyment since David O’Leary side of the early 2000s.
As the prospect of top-flight football beckons, thoughts turn to the squad that could line-up next season – whenever that may be.
Here’s a look then at a potential dream squad for the 2020/21 season for Leeds – bearing in mind some realism over their possible transfer activity…
Despite the brilliance of their football, the Leeds side at present does not possess the quality in depth of even their Championship rivals, and needs freshening up to compete with the Premier League big dogs.
Ilan Meslier – The young Frenchman is currently on-loan at the club and had stepped in admirably in the wake of Kiko Casilla’s ban. Meslier would be a valuable permanent addition. £5m
Joe Hart – With Casilla perhaps in line for an exit, the former England stopper would provide experience to the youthful goalkeeping department. Hart’s career may have fallen off a cliff in recent seasons, but perhaps a move to Yorkshire could be the perfect one to revive it. Free.
Ben White – While Leeds fans can only dream, the permanent signing of the Brighton loanee could be crucial to their chances next season. While the Seagulls may want to hang on tightly to the young prospect, perhaps the allure of starring at Elland Road in the top flight will convince White to move on. £25m
Tanguy Kouassi – Despite his tender age, the 17-year-old has been impressive in six league games thus far for French giants PSG, and would fit nicely alongside Bielsa’s other young stars. Loan.
Danny Rose – The former Leeds youngster may have hit a sticky patch in the last few seasons, but his international and Premier League experience would be vital. Free
Matty Cash – The Nottingham Forest full-back has been linked with a number of big name clubs in recent times – including AC Milan – and would no doubt jump at the chance to play at England’s highest level. £10m
Jack Harrison – Another player currently on loan, and another the club should look to sign permanently. The former New York City winger is unlikely to force his way into Pep Guardiola’s squad at his parent club Manchester City and a return to the Whites could be best for all parties. £5m
Helder Costa – The on-loan Wolves wide-man is again a player the club will look to sign for next season, particularly with the club’s shortage of attacking options. £15m
Andre Gray – He may not be the biggest of names, but the pacy Watford striker would provide Premier League experience as well as a hunger for game time after struggling for consistency at the Hornets. £10m
Potential Transfer Spend: £77m
If the club wishes to revamp its squad as suggested above, then there will have to be some outgoings in order to raise some much needed funds.
Kiko Casilla – While his signing was seen as a big statement of intent, it has quickly unravelled. The former Real Madrid man has looked questionable at times in the Leeds goal, as well as currently serving a ban for racism. Would be best for all if he moved on. £5m
Barry Douglas – This may seem harsh for one of the Championship’s best left-backs, but the potential arrival of Danny Rose as well as the rise of young Leif Davis would perhaps see Douglas moved on. £7m
Ouasim Bouy – The Dutch midfield has never truly settled at the club and would be in line for a swift exit. £1m
Ezgjan Alioski – Despite being an impressive performer in recent seasons, the wide-man is perhaps not at the level required for the top tier and may recoup some much needed funds if moved on. £7m
Patrick Bamford – Another departure that may seem harsh, but Bamford has had his fair share of criticism this season. With a catalogue of failed loan spells at the top level, as well as inconsistent form for the club, the former Chelsea man may be moved on in order to sign a replacement. £10m
Jean-Kevin Augustin– The on-loan Frenchman had been used sparingly before the suspension of the footballing season and it is unlikely the club would look to splash out the £18m option to buy fee for him. End of Loan.
Potential Transfer Sales: £30m
Full First-Team Squad for 2020/21 in a Dream Scenario (inc. Squad Numbers)
|3.||Danny Rose (New Signing)|
|8.||Kalvin Phillips (New Squad Number)|
|9.||Andre Gray (New Signing)|
|10.||Jack Harrison (New Squad Number)|
|12.||Matty Cash (New Signing)|
|13.||Joe Hart (New Signing)|
|14.||Leif Davis (New Squad Number)|
|16.||Tanguy Kouassi (New Signing)|
|18.||Jamie Shackleton (New Squad Number)|
|20.||Jordan Stevens (New Squad Number)|
|21.||Mateusz Bogusz (New Squad Number)|
|30.||Will Huffer (New Squad Number)|