Analysis: Why the versatility of new-look Leeds United squad is pivotal to high aims

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THOMAS CHRISTIANSEN is known to be a fan of footballers who can occupy multiple positions.

Kemar Roofe’s ability to switch from winger to striker has been hailed as “perfect” by Leeds United’s head coach for his thriving team.

I can play up front, I can play on the left or right wing or as a striker. I hope I can bring some speed to the team. I think I am a very clever football player and I hope I can help the team to score many goals.

Pawel Cibicki

Deadline-day recruit Pawel Cibicki will hope to offer the Dane something similar with the versatile Swede saying he is at home anywhere across the front line.

Cibicki became United’s first signing on transfer deadline day when sealing a four-year switch from Malmo to the Whites.

The 23-year-old was followed into Elland Road by striker Pierre-Michel Lasogga some five hours later as he joined United on a season-long loan from Hamburg.

The German is likely to lead the United line in fulfilling the lone striker role as Leeds look to finally end a 14-year exile from the Premier League.

Fellow recent recruit Jay-Roy Grot, the currently injured Caleb Ekuban and Roofe are other centre-forward options at Christiansen’s disposal.

Roofe and Grot can also operate as wingers, another department in which Christiansen is now spoilt for choice with Gianni Alioski, Stuart Dallas, Pablo Hernandez and Hadi Sacko in tow.

Numerous options and whether it be as a winger or a striker, Cibicki says he will provide Christiansen with another choice in three or four different positions.

“I can play in every forward place,” Cibicki told LUTV.

“I can play up front, I can play on the left or right wing or as a striker. I hope I can bring some speed to the team.

“I think I am a very clever football player and I hope I can help the team to score many goals.”

Cibicki has also been given a big vote of confidence by his agent Nochi Hamasor, who says the move to Elland Road is perfect for his player.

“It’s a good choice and Leeds is a good project with good people behind,” Hamasor told Swedish newspaper Expressen.

“It is well thought out.

“It is a traditional club with many international players in.

“It is a young gang aiming to go to the Premier League.

“I think it’s a good step for his career.”

That young career has so far been spent on the books of Malmo with Cibicki signing first-team terms with the Swedish club in November 2012 after previous spells at Nydala IF and FC Malmo.

By then, Leeds’ 2016-17 crowd favourite Pontus Janssson was nearing the end of his second season at Malmo with the centre-half eventually departing for Torino in April 2014.

Cibiki, meanwhile, arrives at Elland Road after five years at Malmo, a period that included a loan spell at Jönköpings Södra IF in 2012 where he netted 10 times in 26 appearances.

After first breaking into the Malmo team in July 2013, Cibiki went on to feature 63 times, netting 13 goals in the process.

He appeared in the same side as Jansson on his Malmo debut when coming on as a second-half substitute in the 3-1 win at home to Gefle in July 2013 when he was just 19-years-old.

Four years on, Cibicki’s has been reunited with his fellow countryman and the new Whites recruit says the 26-year-old defender will be hugely influential in ensuring that he settles quickly into life in Leeds.

“Of course I have my good friend here Pontus Jansson and I have spoken with him and he’s helped me,” said Cibicki.

“He tells me it’s very good and he’s going to take care of me here and so on.

“I hope he is going to take care of me now I am here!”

Cibicki then hopes that together both he and Jansson and the rest of their Whites team-mates can take care of the ultimate task in hand – sealing promotion back to the Premier League. United’s new attacking option has already been linked with the big time with Cibicki thought to have been attracting interest from a host of big clubs earlier on this year.

Manchester United, Ajax, Napoli, Celta Vigo and Real Betis were all said to be interested in his services.

Instead Cibicki has been recruited to tackle the English Championship, but the Swede hopes that next year he will be tackling what he considers to be the biggest league of all – alongside his new team-mates.

“I am very happy that I can be here at this fantastic club and I know that Leeds have a very good and big history,” said Cibicki.

“I hope to make a new one when I come here now and I hope to bring Leeds back to the Premier League.

“I hope I can help them with that.”

Five games unbeaten for the third-placed Whites – boasting an impressive 11 points out of 15 – is not bad for starters and Cibicki is hopeful that United’s impressive start is a sign of things to come.

The new arrival is looking to have made a big enough impression between now and Saturday week in order to make his Whites debut for Christiansen’s side when they return to league action by welcoming Championship strugglers Burton Albion.

Depending on results elsewhere, a fourth league win of the season could lift Leeds into the Championship’s automatic promotion places..

“I have seen the team – they have had a very good start,” said Cibicki.

“We need to do it for 40 games more.”