Leeds United need to make key signing after Wolves win despite Jesse Marsch's positive words
Leeds United need help at left-back before the close of the transfer window despite Jesse Marsch’s positive Pascal Struijk assessment against Wolves.
The Whites battled back to record a creditable 2-1 win in their opening game at Elland Road, with the 22-year-old filling in at the position in the absence of the injured Junior Firpo.
Marsch said after the game, as quoted by Leeds Live: “I thought Pascal defended well and was good on set pieces. He played really well. So really happy, really happy with him.”
While it is true that the game did not see the kind of defensive collapse that was all too common last season, it was against a side that are more known for stopping goals than scoring them, and who were without their main striker.
Struijk is a centre-back pressed into action out of position so it is not all his fault, but if he is the primary back-up to Firpo, who himself struggled in his first season at the club, at least until utility man Stuart Dallas eventually comes back from injury months down the line, this could be a problem.
The former Netherlands under-17 international wasn’t bad going forward, but he and Rasmus Kristensen on the other side struggled with Pedro Neto and Daniel Podence.
Too often the attacking players were able to beat him for pace and get in behind, which United got away with against Wolves but against stronger sides they could be punished severely.
For the opening goal it was Struijk’s header up field that lost possession, and after the visitors played it long, Kristensen was bullied off the ball, there was a gaping hole at the back post where the make-shift left-back had been unable to get back in time.
Hwang Hee-chan was able to nod the ball down for Podence to put Wolves ahead, which threatened to dampen the strong atmosphere the Whites fans in the stands had created.
In what has been a busy transfer window it is a risk and a surprise that left-back has not been a priority, and although the club are looking for options there, it appears to have been left to last in line after a new striker.
Even if Firpo comes on leaps and bounds from his debut season when he returns from injury there is a weakness at this position behind him.
Perhaps Struijk has been handed a hospital pass to try to fill in where he isn’t best suited, and maybe a right-sided full-back like Cody Drameh would be better, but on early evidence this looks like one that needs addressing in the transfer market as a matter of urgency.