Marcelo Bielsa reveals how close Mateusz Klich was to leaving Leeds United last summer
Marcelo Bielsa has revealed how Mateusz Klich asked to leave Leeds United last summer before earning the opportunity which made him a cornerstone of Bielsa’s starting line-up.
Klich is set to make his 50th club appearance this weekend after a remarkable transformation which took him from the brink of an exit from Elland Road to the centre of Bielsa’s plans.
The Poland international chose to fight for a place in pre-season rather than seek an immediate transfer at the end of a disappointing first year with Leeds but found his prospects of playing regularly under Bielsa reduced by a surplus of other midfielders.
An injury to Adam Forshaw in late July, however, and the sale of Ronaldo Vieira to Sampdoria opened the door to Klich, who spent half of last season on loan in Holland having fallen out of favour under former head coach Thomas Christiansen.
Klich has started every Championship game with Bielsa in charge, a fixture in a side who are in the thick of an automatic promotion scrap, and is making good the £1.5m transfer from FC Twente negotiated by director of football Victor Orta in 2017.
Speaking ahead of Klich’s 50th game against Millwall on Saturday, Bielsa said: “Victor Orta was the guy who selected him to be in the squad and he made the right decision. Then Klich made it work to be part of the squad.
“The week before the start of the season, he was insisting on trying to move out of the club because he didn’t have a space in the team. But in this moment the club sold Ronaldo and at the same time Forshaw had his injury.
“Klich for me was the fourth option (behind Lewis Baker) but moved to be the first option. And with the passing of time, he has been a very good player.
“The merit goes to Orta because he moved the player to Leeds and the merit goes to Klich too because with his effort, he won a space in the squad.”
Klich’s form has yielded the highest return of goals in a single season at any stage of his career, with eight to his name on top of seven assists.
His contract with Leeds runs to the end of next season, though United have told the YEP previously that the 28-year-old’s deal includes a further 12-month option.
United are yet to hold formal talks with him about a longer extension.