Leeds United line up transfer solution in problem position as exit paves way for more spending

Leeds United head coach Jesse Marsch admitted during the team’s tour of Australia that they were in the market for a left-back

Tuesday, 26th July 2022, 4:47 pm
Updated Tuesday, 26th July 2022, 4:47 pm

Marsch stated during the final leg of the squad’s pre-season tour that Leeds were ‘actively pursuing’ a new left-back.

The head coach then selected Jack Harrison in that position for the 1-1 draw with Crystal Palace in Perth, sparing 22-year-old Leif Davis who had all but agreed a permanent transfer to Ipswich Town.

It is likely Marsch omitted Davis so not to jeopardise the youngster’s transfer which was confirmed on Monday evening for an undisclosed fee believed to be in the region of £1 million.

Leeds’ only recognised, senior left-back at the club is Junior Firpo who is expected to miss the opening weeks of the season through injury.

Marsch left the Spaniard at home ahead of the team’s Australia tour after Firpo picked up a knock which the American said would keep him sidelined for ‘eight weeks’.

Consequently, the remaining options at Marsch’s disposal without dipping into the market are somewhat imperfect.

Jack Harrison featured at left-back during United’s pre-season tour, however the player is keen to appear in a more attacking role.

Leeds' director of football Victor Orta is still looking to add a left-back to the squad (Photo by Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA/Getty Images)

Leo Hjelde is another option in that position having played there for Ross County whilst on loan from Celtic two seasons ago.

Nominally a centre-half, Hjelde has filled in at left-back on occasion for the Under-23 side and senior squad, but opting for the Norwegian in the long-term is unlikely to appease supporters who have long identified left-back as a problem position.

Pascal Struijk is the other alternative in Marsch’s squad currently, although much like Marcelo Bielsa’s experimentation using the Dutchman in defensive midfield, fielding Struijk at left-back has found his attributes better served as a central defender.

With Liam McCarron having left the club permanently this summer, Firpo injured and the stop-gap trio all relatively unconvincing, the logical choice would be to enter the market once more.

Permitting Davis to leave Elland Road does indicate there is a plan in place, particularly given Marsch’s admission the club are in active pursuit of a left-back.

As with the rest of their business, Leeds will be keen to tie up a deal for a new left-back in the coming days before August 6th and the beginning of the new Premier League season.