Marcelo Bielsa’s reign at Leeds United has begun and signings at Elland Road are expected before the start of the new season.
The Whites are yet to sign anyone permanently this summer, instead bringing in Jamal Blackman and Lewis Baker on-loan from Chelsea, but that could change in the final weeks before the 2018-19 campaign begins.
Speculation on Leeds’ planned activity has been rife and there is indications that further additions are on the horizon, while departures from the Championship promotion hopefuls are also on the cards. Here, we have identified five deals that could be concluded this week.
Jordan Hugill – West Ham
After playing just 22 minutes of Premier League football for West Ham following a January switch from Preston, Jordan Hugill has been widely tipped for a return to the second-tier and The Sun has named Leeds as a potential destination.
Any move would likely be on-loan due to his expensive wages but luring Hugill to Leeds could be a difficult task, as he suggested to West Ham’s official website that he is determined to make an impression on new boss Manuel Pellegrini.
However, Football.London understands he will not be a part of Pellegrini’s plans heading into the new campaign and that increases the likelihood of a move.
Caleb Ekuban to leave
Leeds United took a major risk in the market last summer by signing Ghana striker Caleb Ekuban from Chievo after his breakthrough campaign on-loan with Albanian side FK Partizani and he has failed to make an impact.
The 24-year-old forward scored just one goal in 20 Championship appearances with the Whites last term and is understood to be surplus to requirements in the mind of Bielsa, the Yorkshire Evening Post has reported.
GhanaSoccer has claimed FK Partizani are keen on re-signing the striker, who scored 17 goals in 34 appearances during the 2016/17 campaign, and Leeds are unlikely to stand in the way of an exit.
Tom Hamer – Oldham Athletic
Leeds have long been regarded as a hotbed for young talent and has helped some of the best to develop at Elland Road, including a number of England’s World Cup squad, and Bielsa looks intent on building on that belief.
The Sun on Sunday (22/07, page 58) claims Leeds are readying a bid for 18-year-old Oldham Athletic defender Tom Hamer after his breakthrough campaign in the third-tier last season, where he excelled despite the Owls’ relegation to League Two.
An initial bid of £200k is being touted, with the Whites set to include more in bonuses, but Leeds face a challenge to secure his signature as it is stated a number of Premier League clubs are sniffing around.
Eunan O’Kane to leave
Eunan O’Kane was a frustrating player for many at Elland Road last season and, despite a number of poor performances, retained his spot in the starting line-up; although it appears that will not be the case under Bielsa.
The Yorkshire Evening Post states that O’Kane has been deemed as not good enough by the new Leeds manager and is now set for a departure from the Yorkshire giants – although they do not mentioned any suitors for the 28-year-old.
“It’s a really impressive club and it’s moving in the right direction.”
Phil Foden – Manchester City
Widely-regarded to be one of the finest young prospects within English football, Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola rates Phil Foden extremely highly and seemed to be initially against a departure for the teenager on-loan.
However, LeedsLive claims the door has been opened for Marcelo Bielsa to take advantage of his relationship with Guardiola after comments from the Citizens’ boss suggested Foden, alongside Ibrahim Diaz, could be sent on-loan for the forthcoming campaign.
18-year-old Foden made five Premier League appearances during Manchester City’s title-winning success last term and made his debut for the England U19 side earlier this year, after winning the U17 World Cup with the Three Lions in 2017.
Leeds United’s Massimo Cellino flop Lee Erwin to embark on Iranian adventure
The Scottish striker has joined Tractor Sazi in Iran.
Back in the summer of 2015, Leeds United snapped up promising young Scottish forward Lee Erwin on a free transfer from Motherwell. It was a move spearheaded by then Leeds chairman Massimo Cellino, who worked hard to bring the Scot to Elland Road.
However, it did not work out for the attacker. He played just 12 times for Leeds and failed to score a single goal. Loan spells at Bury and Oldham Athletic were mixed and last summer he was told he could leave by Thomas Christiansen.
Erwin headed back to Scotland with Kilmarnock, scoring seven times in 40 games for the club. However, one year after being given the boot by Leeds, the 23-year-old is now treading a much lesser known path.
Delighted to sign for Tractor sazi , Cant wait to get started on this exciting new chapter ?? ? pic.twitter.com/9N6QrYezHK
— Lee Erwin (@LeeErwin19) August 14, 2018
As confirmed yesterday, he has joined Iranian side Tractor Sazi. The club are managed by Welsh legend John Toshack. He is also not alone in having British football experience. Former Nottingham Forest midfielder Ashkan Dejagah, Celtic striker Anthony Stokes and Rangers winger Harry Forrester joined the club this summer.
Leeds United fans will not have many fond memories of Erwin. He barely made any noticeable impact at Elland Road.
But fans will no doubt wish him all the best in his brave new adventure.
Some Leeds United fans are raving over Samuel Saiz’s League Cup display
Leeds United have won a third game in a row under the management of Marcelo Bielsa. The Argentine made plenty of changes to his starting XI for the clash with Bolton Wanderers, but they still proved too strong for the Trotters.
There were some excellent performances on the night for Leeds fans to get excited about. Patrick Bamford scored his first goal for the club. Jamie Shackleton had an excellent evening in only his second senior appearance. Lewis Baker also had a good game in the centre of midfield. But it was perhaps Samuel Saiz who caught the eye the most.
The Spanish wizard was sensational, as always, throughout the game and fully deserved his goal. His trickery left Bolton’s defence bamboozled before a low drive beat Remi Matthews in the opposing goal.
Leeds fans were, of course, delighted with yet another display of excellence from Saiz, who was linked with La Liga sides this summer.
It was perhaps a testament to his excellent display and the esteem he is held in that Leeds fans are so concerned that he briefly clutched his hamstring whilst leaving the field of play.
Fans will hope he is fighting fit for the all-Yorkshire clash with Rotherham United at the weekend.
Here is some of the best reaction to his performance on Twitter…
— MoscowhiteTSB (@MoscowhiteTSB) August 14, 2018
— Emmo Lambe (@EmmoLambe) August 14, 2018
Saiz is different class isn’t he.. #lufc
— Anthony Ward (@AnthonyWard10) August 14, 2018
Samu Saiz is a freak of nature #lufc
— Tariq Jabbar (@TariqJabbar80) August 14, 2018
— Steve Gunn (@SteveGunn11) August 14, 2018
— Paul Milner (@paulmilner365) August 14, 2018
When SAIZ turns up the lad is untouchable ? #lufc
— paul kelly (@paulie_lufc) August 14, 2018
Another Saiz masterclass, he’s on another level #lufc
— Tom Randerson (@TomR_FI) August 14, 2018
Saiz on form the best player in this league by an absolute street. Very few players even at the top end can do what he does ? #lufc
— ?? Kevin Power ?? (@kevinpower93) August 14, 2018
Samuel Saiz could walk into most prem teams #LUFC
— Nathan Styran (@nathanstyran) August 14, 2018
Linked with Leeds United this summer, Baghdad Bounedjah scores 10 goals in just two games
The Algerian striker has been in impeccable form since being linked with Leeds United.
As Leeds searched for a new striker this summer plenty of names came flying out of the transfer rumour mill. Must of them, were known to Leeds fans. Others, on the other hand, were lesser known. One such player was Algerian striker Baghdad Bounedjah.
He is currently plying his trade for Al Sadd in Qatar. The front-man has been in fine form in the Stars League, scoring 25 goals in 19 games last season.
Despite Leeds’ apparent interest, a move soon dissipated with news of his price-tag. Algerian source L’Expression were suggesting that the cash-rich Qatari side wanted €15 million (£13.25 million) for the attacker in order to let him go this summer.
Considering that was more than Leeds were ready to pay for Matej Vydra and eventual recruit Patrick Bamford, it is easy to see why a deal did not happen.
But, judging by his early form this season, Leeds might have wanted to stump up. Bounedjah has scored an incredible 10 goals in just two games.
After bagging a hat-trick in the opening game of the Stars League against Al Kharitiyath a week ago he scored an unbelievable seven times in a 10-1 win against Al Arabi on Sunday.
If you include the club’s final pre-season clash with NK Krka of Slovenia his record is even more outstanding. He scored five times in an 8-1 win. That makes 15 goals in his last three games.
Of course, the Qatari Stars League is not the highest of standards. But at any level, 10 goals in two games is enough to suggest an element of quality. Such form has attracted the interest of Turkish side Fenerbahce, according to Sabah.
Leeds were still right to balk at the asking price considering his lack of European experience. But it could prove to be a costly mistake if he does replicate his form in the Middle East on the continent.
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