The Leeds United answers needed from within and double boost for Wolves opener - David Prutton

Leeds United are facing up to a new season having lost both Raphinha and Kalvin Phillips which will be tough.

By David Prutton
Saturday, 6th August 2022, 7:30 am

But they are singular players and both Whites head coach Jesse Marsch and chairman Andrea Radrizzani have been emphasising positive noises about deepening the squad through the money generated from their departures.

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As much as we talked about individuals last season, the club's finish reflects on the relative shallowness of what the squad was.

From what I've seen and the potential of who is going to be lining up for Leeds when it is the best team, the side will have several brand new players in and Leeds are not bringing squad players in. They are bringing in players to make the collective standard of the first team better.

Undoubtedly, a team like Leeds would miss Kalvin and a team like Leeds would miss Raphinha. But that's always going to happen with a team in its infancy back in the Premier League so then you have got to look into your recruitment.

I'm not saying it's akin to what Aston Villa have done but you see Jack Grealish go for £100m and then you see the players that Villa have brought in collectively and not just because of the Grealish money.

But that's always going to be the case when you have got star players such as that.

CHALLENGE: For the likes of Leeds United's record signing Rodrigo, centre, and Jack Harrison, right, to weigh in with more goals and stop the Whites being so reliant on striker Patrick Bamford, left, pictured after netting in last weekend's 6-2 pre-season victory against Cagliari at Elland Road. Photo by Ashley Allen/Getty Images.

You have got to make sure that you can fill not just that gap, but the gaps that are created broadly and when you look at the likes of Tyler Adams and Marc Roca, it's a decent spread of quality that Leeds have managed to bring in.

Rasmus Kristensen has also got an approach to the game that I am sure Leeds fans are going to absolutely love and there's not just that but also the quality and experience internationally and in the Champions League.

The same goes for the likes of Adams and Brenden Aaronson as well and Aaronson seems to have really captured the imagination of Leeds fans early on with regards to his role in where he is likely to be playing in the team.

You would have skepticism if Leeds had not tooled up on the back of Kalvin and Raphinha going but they have been proactive and that's been a finger that has been pointed at Leeds over previous transfers windows.

There have been times where they have been reactive rather than proactive with regards to who they have brought in or not brought in anyone at all so I think you have got to be as optimistic as possible and that's not me saying you go into it blindly.

But it looks like it has been a well thought out approach also in tandem with players coming back to fitness.

It's a bit make-do or mend at left back at the moment with Junior Firpo and Stuart Dallas both out and Pascal Struijk playing there.

Pascal has got to step up to the plate unless they bring someone in and with the striker scenario, Patrick Bamford looks to be firing towards all cylinders.

Jesse has said that he doesn't want to thrash him straight away because he is obviously wary of garnering him towards proper Premier League week-in, week-out fitness and I think they have got to keep an eye on that.

Leeds wanted to sign Charles De Ketelaere who instead went to AC Milan from Club Brugge but that's fair enough so maybe keep the power dry until towards the end of the window.

We know it can get a bit silly then but it seems to all extents and purposes that other than De Ketelaere they got all the ones they were after.

If you get 90 per cent of your targets then great.

One hundred per cent is obviously the perfect turnaround but if you get upwards of 90 per cent of them then happy days really.

It's just one of those where you have got to look at it as not just Patrick hitting the ground running but exterior goals from other people as well so Luis Sinisterra when he is back fit, Aaronson getting in the scoresheet, Harrison bringing something more to equation and Rodrigo who needs to pull his finger out.

Jesse has spoken fondly of him and that is music to the players' ears because you know that the manager is rooting for you.

But it's then the players' responsibility to go and score goals and this is the club's record signing still.

He bagged a hat-trick in last weekend's friendly against Cagliari and all he can do is score against the teams that are put in front of him and if he carries that on into the new season then it will be rosy.

But the main thing as signings dovetail into the new season and the new season gets going, it's got to be a better start than last season

It's got to be a fundamentally more consistent season than last season and after all of the coaching, chat and pre-season games, it builds up to this first impression of the season against Wolves today at Elland Road and I'm just intrigued to see how they go about it.

Raul Jimenez and Adama Traore are both out for Wolves and without sounding too overly cynical, if you are a Wolves fan you are chewing but if you a Leeds fan you are buzzing if Jimenez isn't playing.

That's one tick in the box for Leeds fans and again with Traore who is another player who can cause so many problems.

Wolves had a very respectable tenth-placed finish last season but other than Man City, Man United, Liverpool, Chelsea, Spurs and possibly West Ham, for the rest of them, anyone can beat anyone.

There's no mystique to it and it's just one, long, relentless fight to survival.

With regards to the way that Jesse and Andrea are talking, you might say that possibly on paper that fully fit first XI is possibly one of the better ones that we've seen in recent seasons at Leeds.

But the responsibility of that squad and that first XI is to get to a respectable, safe, tally of points and then anything after that's a bonus.

As much as there have been some great signings and there is an optimism, I'd like to think that how close it was last year is still sticking around as a feeling of motivation, not something to dwell on, not something to drag people down and not something to quell any form of optimism.

But more a case of thinking 'that was close, let's do everything we possibly can not to be that close not only this season but every year.

If they perform to their best then a respectable mid table finish is more than doable.

If they're inconsistent and porous at the back then it will be another season where you've got to hang on for dear life.

But that's inherently the Premier League and we all know that.

Other than those ginormous football clubs, then two thirds of it is a battle for survival, as it always is in the Prem.