Five Leeds predictions for 2022: Bielsa, Raphinha and Forshaw included
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Five Leeds predictions for 2022: Bielsa, Raphinha and Forshaw included

Leeds United may not mind seeing the back of 2021 with Marcelo Bielsa’s side enduring a difficult first-half of the current Premier League season.

Of course, the Whites secured a top-half finish just a few months ago. So it has been a year full of a variety of emotions for Leeds supporters.

But what will 2022 bring? Here are five predictions for the next 12 months for Leeds United…

Leeds will now avoid busy January despite injury crisis after postponements

The postponements of the games with Liverpool and Aston Villa have a clear upside for Leeds. With so many players out injured, the cancellations increase the likelihood of Bielsa having more players back by the time they next take to the field.

Leeds actually only have three Premier League games scheduled for January. They are crucial, with both Burnley and Newcastle ahead. But it is hard to see any new faces arriving in time for the clash with the Clarets on the 2nd.

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And with Bielsa seemingly not really liking signing players in the winter window, it would perhaps not now be a surprise if Leeds did avoid a busy month. Instead, he may be content to largely make do until the likes of Kalvin Phillips and Patrick Bamford are back.

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Adam Forshaw will be next Leeds player to sign new contract

Under previous regimes, Leeds have been left to rue not acting sooner to tie key players down to new contracts. Andrea Radrizzani and Victor Orta however, have been proactive in ensuring that there are few concerns in that department.

In fact, the only senior player out of contract this coming summer is Adam Forshaw. Many would have previously expected Forshaw to leave on a free transfer as he spent almost two years out with injury.

But since his return, the midfielder has been outstanding. And with that, it is hard to see the 30-year-old not getting a new contract.

Marcelo Bielsa will decide to step down after making sure Leeds stay up

As a Leeds fan, this is the day I am not ready to confront. But it would not entirely be surprising if Bielsa decided that this season was his last at Elland Road. Obviously, only he will know what he makes of Leeds’ season. But it does appear that there is greater talk – admittedly, only from the outside – that the Whites may need to make a change.

Hopefully, Bielsa leads Leeds into the 2022/23 season. But if he does call it a day at the end of this campaign, there is no doubt he will leave as one of the greatest managers in the club’s history.

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Raphinha will break club record, but Kalvin Phillips and Illan Meslier will stay

The three Leeds players seemingly most frequently linked with a move away are Raphinha, Kalvin Phillips and Illan Meslier. And given that the Whites are not the biggest spenders, it may not be a surprise if one is sold in the summer to bolster the club’s transfer budget.

Phillips is going to be hard for any side to prise away due to his connections to Leeds. Meanwhile, Meslier is perhaps a year or so away from being worth a frightening amount of money.

Raphinha has been massive for Leeds this term, with eight goals in the top-flight. He is the player that will likely attract the eye-watering bid. And he may potentially be the one who has the strongest desire to move on with Leeds struggling this year.

Leeds can certainly expect to receive a lot more for the Brazil international than the £30 million that Rio Ferdinand left for in a club-record deal nearly 20 years ago.

Diego Martinez will succeed Marcelo Bielsa

Admittedly, predicting the next Leeds boss is incredibly difficult. The man who has probably been most heavily linked is Diego Martinez. He did a remarkable job with Granada and remains a free agent. And reports in November suggested that Victor Orta had already made an initial approach.

If Bielsa does decide to call it a day, Martinez is almost definitely going to be a name Leeds fans hear plenty of times.

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