Last summer Leeds United underwent plenty of changes. They lost manager Garry Monk after Andrea Radrizzani became the club’s new owner whilst plenty of players also came and went. One such player was one-time club captain Liam Bridcutt.
New manager Thomas Christiansen quickly decided that Bridcutt was not in his plans for the upcoming season. Leeds, therefore, allowed him to join Championship rivals Nottingham Forest in a deal reported by the Nottingham Post to be in the region of £1 million.
That looked a very good deal for Forest, who felt they had got themselves a bargain from one of their nearest Championship rivals.
It was also a surprise to Leeds fans to see the club let him go. They had fought so hard to sign him, initially under Steve Evans on loan in 2015, before Monk snapped him up permanently the following summer.
But he struggled with injury throughout 2016-17 and the new manager simply decided he was not in his plans at Elland Road.
In all honesty, the 29-year-old has not yet shown he is sorely missed.
Bridcutt has played just 27 games this season, finding the net once. He has also picked up 11 bookings, which would have been more ill-discipline Leeds could live without. Once again his campaign has been hampered by niggling injury trouble.
The Scotland international suffered an ankle injury in January which kept him out for several months.
He also saw yet another managerial change, with Aitor Karanka taking over from Mark Warburton. From his time at Leeds and Sunderland, it is a situation he is becoming increasingly used to.
Overall, Leeds will not feel as though they are missing out greatly after the departure of their former captain.
He might have been a handy member of the squad to have at Leeds this season but would he have helped them finish higher up the Championship table? It looks doubtful.
Leeds United round-up: De Bock interest, O’Kane to Charlton and managerial shortlist
A selection of the latest news and gossip from Leeds United.
De Bock option
Laurens De Bock has an option to head out of Leeds United before the end of the month. The Belgian has struggled to have an impact at Leeds since arriving in January.
The left-back has now dropped down the pecking order at Leeds, with youngster Tom Pearce and summer signing Barry Douglas overtaking him.
According to Voetbal24, he could be heading to Israel. Beitar Jerusalem are said to be keen on the player, where his former manager Guy Luzon is currently working.
Leeds United midfielder Eunan O’Kane could still be heading to Charlton Athletic. The Irish international has been frozen out at Leeds and is expected to leave Elland Road before the end of the month.
League One Charlton, managed by former Leeds midfielder Lee Bowyer, have been linked with a move earlier this month.
Now, as reported by the Yorkshire Post, the Addicks will continue looking for his signature over the next week or so.
Leeds’ managerial shortlist before the start of the season had a number of top names present. Speaking to Gazzetta dello Sport, the Leeds chairman Andrea Radrizzani confirmed that the likes of Antonio Conte, Claudio Ranieri and Roberto Martinez were all considered for the manager role at Elland Road.
Leeds eventually appointed Marcelo Bielsa and his impact has been dramatic and immediate in West Yorkshire.
Leeds United should consider sending Yosuke Ideguchi to KAS Eupen
The Japan international looks unlikely to play a major role at Leeds this season.
Leeds United’s excellent start to the season has been largely down to the management of Marcelo Bielsa. The Argentine has worked wonders with his new players. He even brought in the likes of Mateusz Klich from the cold, with aplomb.
However, another player who spent the second half of last season loaned out elsewhere was Yosuke Ideguchi. So far, the Japanese international has not received a chance under Bielsa.
It looks as though he might be sent out on loan before the end of the month, but interest from these shores looks scarce.
Last season he spent time with Leeds partner club Cultural Leonesa. The two teams have a strong link through director Ivan Bravo and the Aspire Foundation.
But Cultural was a waste of time for Ideguchi. He barely played and they were relegated to the third-tier. The Spanish side are not, however, the only Aspire team in Europe.
KAS Eupen of Belgium’s top-flight also have a connection with Bravo and Aspire. If Leeds want to help Ideguchi get better, perhaps sending him here is a better shout.
Not only would he playing a similar style of football to that in England, but he would be doing so under one of the best central midfielders to play the game in England.
Claude Makelele is the manager at the club. The former Chelsea star would undoubtedly have a lot of knowledge to pass down to a young midfielder.
He would also have the added advantage of a Japanese team-mate. Yuta Toyokawa joined the club in January, amid controversy surrounding an apparent move to Leeds. He is a similar age to the Leeds misfit. Having him around could help the pair settle in their new surroundings.
If Leeds cannot find someone in the UK to take on Ideguchi, then sending him to Eupen looks like being the next best thing.
Marco Bielsa is already setting records at Leeds United, with last season’s team
The turn around at Elland Road in the opening weeks of the season has been remarkable.
Four games into his Leeds United tenure and Marco Bielsa is already setting records with his new team.
After a 2-1 victory over Rotherham on Saturday, the Argentine head coach becomes the first boss at Elland Road to win the club’s first four games at the start of a domestic season, in all competitions.
The standards being set by the 63-year-old since his arrival have been somewhat remarkable with the playing style he has quickly been able to implement proving mesmerising, even to those who are typically opposed to the club.
But, perhaps the most impressive quality about the performances Championship fans are witnessing, is the fact Bielsa has set this record with practically the same team that took to the field, and could only achieve a 13th place finish, last season.
At Elland Road this weekend, the starting XI only contained one summer signing, which just goes to demonstrate the impressive work Bielsa has carried out with the players over the summer period.
Already being referred to as a ‘ready-made Premier League side’, after years of heart break at Elland Road, there will now be a genuine believe that the Whites can return to the English top flight come the end of the season.
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