Last season, Samu Saiz was Leeds United’s talisman. Lightning as Thomas Christiansen’s side rampaged to the top of the league, it was no coincidence that the Whites were unable to reverse their winter slump following his January ban for a red card at Newport.
This time around, he has not netted the goals that Leeds would expect from a talismanic figure, but Marcelo Bielsa’s side look a more complete side.
This is what the man himself had to say about that shift to the Yorkshire Evening Post: “I think I have improved on other aspects in comparison with last year.
“Last year at the beginning of the season the players did not know me and I had more freedom. But this season and the second part of last season the marker is always on me; I am surrounded by the opponents. Of course I prefer if Pablo plays, so I can have more freedom and will not have as many opponents marking me.”
Saiz has evolved in other ways and he knows that. Being the talisman in a struggling team as an unknown quantity is a different beast to slotting into a high-performing, well-fancied side as a marked man.
He has adapted expertly to remain integral to Leeds, without the goals. On the quiet, Saiz has gone to the next level and looks a player who could adapt to the Premier League. His change of role can help the Whites get there.