Marcelo Bielsa explains view on strengthening Leeds United squad in January transfer window

Marcelo Bielsa has explained why Leeds United signing new faces in January is not necessarily a straight forward decision.

Tuesday, 23rd November 2021, 4:40 am

Injuries have left the Argentine with a threadbare squad in recent weeks - his substitutes' bench was made up of seven Under-23s regulars and two seniors on Sunday at Spurs with Raphinha and Rodrigo joining the list of the unavailable.

Although it was illness and a minor foot injury respectively that kept the attacking pair out at the weekend and the hope will be that they return to action at Brighton on Saturday, reinforcements in the January window would, on the face of it, appear sensible.

But, unlike Spurs counterpart Antonio Conte who has been known to demand more signings from his clubs, Bielsa takes a more measured approach to mid-season recruitment.

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He believes Leeds have already invested heavily and that must be taken into account, given the price of players who could augment his squad.

"In reference to the amount of players that we have in the squad, it is not only about the amount of players but the quality of the players that are for the squad," he said.

"So the players will have the level for any position, it would cost us a minimum between 20 and 30 million pounds.

"So in an institution like Leeds that had invested a lot on players in the second year and also the third year, to imagine that we could increase the power of our professional group, it shouldn't be evaluated without looking at the economic possibilities."

STILL OUT - Leeds United have been without striker Patrick Bamford since mid September. Pic: Getty

Another consideration for Bielsa is the duration of the current injury crisis.

Leeds have been without defender Robin Koch since the opening day of the season and Patrick Bamford picked up his ankle injury in mid-September on the same night that Luke Ayling damaged his knee.

Koch and Ayling have both had surgery, but Bielsa revealed last week that the right-back is progressive 'positively' towards a return along with Bamford.

Other injuries, like the one suffered by Jamie Shackleton, are thought to be more short-term, leading Bielsa to hope the squad will soon grow in size through the swift return of players currently out.

"It is true we haven't been able to count on Koch for a long period of time due to a problem with his pelvis, Bamford's ankle has also been a long injury," said Bielsa.

"Ayling's knee has also been a long injury, after there are injuries that are shorter and more common so I have the feeling that we should only bring in players if they are better than the ones we already have.

"However it is normal to demand an investment in the team.

"Hopefully we can resolve this with the recovery of the players that are absent and it is also by chance that the injuries that we pick up are all by players that play in the same position in the same period."