Jesse Marsch would love to have this Leeds United XI available v Wolves, with 5 new faces
July is only just upon us and yet Leeds United’s transfer window has already been full of highs, lows, twists and the inevitable with incomings and exits.
The inevitable departures of star men Kalvin Phillips and Raphinha look to set to be completed in the coming days, with around £100m expected to be generated from their respective sales combined.
But it means they won’t be playing alongside the three new signings that have already been confirmed to be part of the squad at Elland Road in the 2022/23 season – Marc Roca, Brendan Aaronson and Rasmus Kristensen.
But as the process to invest in the squad with the money received for the departure of their two best players, more signings are expected between now and the start of the Premier League season at home to Wolves on August 6th.
So what would be the manager’s idea of a full strength starting lineup on the day if he can secure his top targets?
One man who seems to have his position secure in the team is goalkeeper Illan Meslier, who retains his status as the number one at the club and will continue to start games for as long as he’s fit and available.
Ahead of him in defence, there’s unlikely to be heavy changes despite conceding a league high 79 goals in the Premier League during the 2021/22 season.
Danish defender Kristensen has been brought in at right-back to provide depth and competition for Luke Ayling, and it’s believed the £10m signing will start as first-choice while Ayling recovers from a knee surgery he underwent at the end of the previous campaign.
Captain Stuart Cooper will start as the first-choice centre-back, with Spanish international Diego Llorente likely to start alongside him ahead of Robin Koch and Pascal Struijk. Stuart Dallas will miss the start of the season with a fractured kneecap, so Junior Firpo will likely get the nod ahead of Cody Drameh who returns from a loan away.
Despite that though, once Dallas returns to fitness he will be expected to compete for the starting position in that role to provide energy and leadership on the pitch.
In midfield we’re likely to see some very big changes. Phillips’ impending departure opens up a big hole in the heart of the pitch but could allow Marsch to move towards his favoured 4-2-2-2 formation.
Roca was signed from Bayern Munich and is expected to come into the side as the new heartbeat, using his passing ability and intelligence to keep the possession and tempo ticking over for the Whites.
Alongside him could be another brand new face, with the club interested in signing Mohamed Camara [Ryan Taylor YouTube, June 30] from Red Bull Salzburg having already done two deals with the Austrian club this summer.
His energy, pressing and defensive prowess make him the perfect partner for Roca and having worked under Marsch in the past he will come in with a good idea of what will be asked of him immediately.
Further forward the American Aaronson finally arrived at the club after a long chase and he will likely slot into the side on the left, cutting inside on to his right foot to put his creativity, dribbling and shooting ability to maximum use.
The other wing position is harder to judge after Raphinha’s exit, but it’s likely that one of the many options already at the club will be the ones to take over his spot in the squad.
Daniel James struggled in his debut season at the club after signing from Manchester United, while Jack Harrison played really well under Marsch after he took over from Marcelo Bielsa towards the end of the season.
That should give the former Man City winger the nod at the start of the season, although he’ll have to perform well to keep his spot in the side.
As a front two, Patrick Bamford’s importance to the team was seen when he was rushed back early to help in their battle against relegation and his absence was felt when they only just managed to scrape survival.
He will come back into the team so long as his recovery from plantar fasciitis has gone swimmingly, but he could have a new partner alongside him.
He managed to score 18 goals and register ten assists in 49 appearances last season and while he prefers to play slightly off the striker, that could work perfectly for Marsch to provide more balance.
If the deals can be secured and Marsch gets his wishes granted, Leeds should be very excited about the upcoming season and hopes they can avoid another relegation battle will be high.
In other Leeds news, Barcelona have made a £47.4m bid for Raphinha according to SPORT