Leeds United fans appear to be readying themselves for a fairly quiet January transfer window – particularly after Marcelo Bielsa’s comments on the Whites’ plans for the month.
Bielsa suggested, in comments reported by Leeds Live, that Leeds were ready to bring no-one in in January. But they are now considering signing a replacement for Jack Clarke, while Eddie Nketiah may also be replaced if his loan spell is cut short.
Those comments certainly suggest that Leeds have no plans to strengthen their options at the back. But perhaps Bielsa should be open to changing those plans following the club’s most recent win.
Leeds returned to the top of the Championship with an outrageous 5-4 win at Birmingham City on Sunday. There were so many positives to take from the game. But there were also warning signs.
Birmingham had a lot of joy from set-pieces and crosses into the box. They were certainly helped by one of Kiko Casilla’s poorest performances of the season. But Leeds’s defenders also seemed to struggle to cope with the home side.
One of the obvious reasons for their struggles was arguably Leeds’s lack of height. Liam Cooper was the tallest outfield player in a platinum and pink shirt at 6 foot. And it is only Patrick Bamford – who is just one centimetre taller – who would have provided the Whites with more height if he was playing.
Leeds, obviously, should not sign a player simply based on their height. But it is certainly a box that Leicester City’s Filip Benkovic ticks, with the Croatian standing at 6 foot 4 inches.
The Telegraph reported earlier this month that Derby County want to loan the £13 million 22-year-old next month. And Leeds should certainly join them in the chase.
Benkovic’s career at the King Power Stadium has yet to really get going. But he was excellent while at Celtic on loan last season. And there is little shame in not getting into Leicester’s defence at the moment.
Benkovic is an aggressive defender and fantastic passer of the ball. He looks comfortable when playing diagonal passes across the pitch, and he is happy to step out of the backline to try and win the ball.
And as previously mentioned, he does offer the height that Cooper, Ben White and Gaetano Berardi do not quite provide.
A move for any defender currently looks unlikely. But if Bielsa decides to strengthen his options at the back, Benkovic could be a perfect target if he is leaving on loan.
After all, Leeds’s best signing this season came when they brought in a largely unproven Premier League defender on loan.