MARCELO BIELSA admits he is unsure if Leeds United will replace Samuel Saiz in the January transfer window as the Whites head coach highlights the importance of Pablo Hernandez.
Saiz joins La Liga side Getafe on a six-month loan next month ahead of a permanent £6m summer switch with the No 10 seeking a return to Spain due to personal reasons.
Bielsa has hinted that Saiz’s surprise departure could force him to act in the transfer market and Whites managing director Angus Kinnear provided an update as to United’s recruitment plans in his Boxing Day programme notes.
Kinnear said Leeds would use the January market to “evaluate any opportunities” but that the “club’s criteria on adding to the squad will be exacting.”
He continued: “Any new face will need to add significant and immediate capability to the first team, fit within our reasonable wage structure and not destabilise the squad that has served us so well.
“Identifying and securing this type of player will be challenging and we are conscious that the majority of January purchases fail to deliver against expectations. However, our scouting and analytics capability give us a better chance to beat the odds.”
Minus the services of Saiz, 33-year-old Hernandez has proved the answer in the No 10 role with Bielsa highlighting his importance to the side’s cause.
Leeds sit top of the Championship and three points clear of second-placed Norwich City with the Whites seeking their eighth league win in succession on Saturday at home to 15th-placed Hull City.
“Pablo is giving things that we need to build our offensive play on,” said Bielsa.
“He can put the ball in the zones of the pitch where it is easier for us to finish the action and it’s a very specific knowledge in football. You don’t teach this kind of knowledge.
“Some players learn how to do that with the experience if they have it naturally.”
Asked if he thought Leeds would be replacing Saiz, Bielsa said: “Usually I don’t talk about hypothetical situations.
“I’d rather prefer to talk about facts when they actually become facts.
“And I prefer not to talk about things that I’m not sure.