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Pascal Struijk could prove biggest winner if Leeds miss out on Josko Gvardiol

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Leeds United

Pascal Struijk could prove biggest winner if Leeds miss out on Josko Gvardiol

Leeds United appear to have been dealt a blow in their pursuit of Josko Gvardiol, with Croatian outlet Sportske Novosti reporting that the young defender would prefer a move elsewhere this summer.

Leeds have reportedly offered around £20.3 million for Gvardiol. And Dinamo Zagreb would receive 20 percent of any future fee if the 18-year-old moved to Elland Road.

Dinamo Zagreb v Benfica - UEFA Youth League Quarter Final

(Photo by Pixsell/MB Media/Getty Images)

However, Sportske Novosti has suggested that Gvardiol would rather join RB Leipzig if he leaves during this window.

Given how much money Leeds have apparently put on the table for a youngster with only a handful of first-team appearances under his belt, it would clearly be a major setback if they miss out on Gvardiol.

Nevertheless, there will obviously be an upside for those players who may no longer find themselves pushed down the pecking order because of Gvardiol.

Liverpool v Leeds United - Premier League

(Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)

And perhaps the biggest winner will be Pascal Struijk.

It is remarkable to think that Struijk went into the weekend still awaiting his first start at centre-back for the Whites.

The 21-year-old was outstanding in the final stages of last season. However, those performances came in the previously-unfamiliar position of holding midfield.

It proved to be a baptism of fire for Struijk as Leeds marked their return to the Premier League with a trip to face the champions.

 

But, while there proved to be some errors from the Dutchman, he emerged with a lot of credit. Struijk cannot have had much notice that he would play with Liam Cooper picking up a late injury.

And he also had to consider that Robin Koch was making his Leeds debut alongside him. Neither player disgraced themselves in the 4-3 defeat.

It was the kind of performance that hints that Struijk will have an important role to play this season. He may not start regularly, but he is seemingly first in line to provide cover for Kalvin Phillips or either of the centre-backs.

Had Gvardiol arrived, that position may have been in a little doubt.

Admittedly, Marcelo Bielsa is not the kind of head coach to pick a team based on transfer fees. But Gvardiol’s arrival for a big fee would have hinted that he is there or thereabouts when it comes to being first-team ready.

It remains to be seen if Leeds can bring Gvardiol in. But Struijk’s display hints that the Whites will be able to cope should they indeed miss out.

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