Leeds United are making plans for a major overhaul of their squad in 2023 with at least two of their most popular stars in recent years poised to depart, TEAMtalk has been told.
The Whites secured promotion back to the Premier League in 2020 after winning the Championship title by 10 points. That swashbuckling football played under Marcelo Bielsa will forever live in supporters’ hearts, with the Whites also finishing ninth on an excellent first season back in the top flight.
Now under Jesse Marsch’s control, the Whites look like facing another battle to retain their Premier League status. Last season that was secured in the most dramatic fashion, courtesy of a 2-1 win at Brentford on the final day of the season.
This time around, Leeds lie 15th with the season breaking up for the World Cup. Leeds have been good in parts – defeating Liverpool and Chelsea – but a lack of consistency, together with some defensive frailties, continues to cost them.
With the January transfer window opening in 46 days, Leeds are making plans to further strengthen their squad.
Top of their list of requirements is a new left-back. Junior Firpo has been a major disappointment since his arrival from Barcelona in summer 2021 and the Whites are plotting to sign an upgrade. To that end, we have taken a look at five left-backs they are reportedly considering signing.
They are also considering options to bolster their attack. Rodrigo Moreno has scored nine goals this season, but doubts remain over his long-term future, while Patrick Bamford appears no longer a player they can rely on.
As a result, Victor Orta are reportedly taking a look at a Brazilian striker, also on Manchester United’s radar.
Leeds squad overhaul on the cards
Before they can spend, however, Leeds have some more pressing issues to hand. Several members of their squad are nearing the end of their existing deals, leaving the club with several big decisions to make.
As a result, TEAMtalk’s transfer expert Graeme Bailey believes a number of players will depart.
“Leeds can expect changes next summer for sure and it will mean another overhaul of their squad,” Bailey told TEAMtalk. “It is clear that Jesse Marsch still doesn’t have all the tools at his disposal.
“That will mean players leaving, and possibly even as soon as January. Adam Forshaw is on the chopping block, but it is understood a number of Championship clubs are lining up to land him.
“Luke Ayling like Forshaw is out of contract next summer, and I am told there is interest in him. However, it is a doubt that Leeds’ squad is deep enough for them to let him go. There is also Cody Drameh – he is attracting some interest from abroad and from in England too, with Newcastle one of those keen on him. They have been looking for a new right-back to bolster their options after failing to land Harrison Ashby in the summer, and he could be an option in the New Year for Eddie Howe.”
Mateusz Klich tipped to leave Leeds
Bailey, however, believes that Drameh could yet be tempted into staying.
But there may still be another major departure in the form of popular midfielder Mateusz Klich.
The Pole was a hugely-influential figure in midfield under Bielsa, rarely missing a game in the first two seasons under the Argentine.
However, he’s suffered from strong competition in midfield this season with a lack of game time costing him a place in Poland’s World Cup squad.
As a result, Bailey claims he is a likely departure from Elland Road in January.
“I am told Leeds are assessing Drameh’s situation and whilst he could very well leave, I wouldn’t rule out them giving him a chance to earn to prove himself back at the club.
“Mateusz Klich is a likely January departure – he is clearly down the pecking order at Leeds and that has cost him his place in Poland’s World Cup squad, that is going to hurt. I really don’t see him hanging around at Elland Road too much longer.”
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