By Craig Scott

27th Jul, 2021 | 11:10am

Marcelo Bielsa wants Conor Gallagher, he's perfect for Leeds United

Leeds United kick off their second campaign back in the Premier League in 18 days’ time but they are still in need of one or two new signings before then.

Junior Firpo has been brought in to play at left-back next season while Jack Harrison has had his loan deal turned into a permanent one.

Kristoffer Klaesson is widely reported to be on the verge of a move to Elland Road to become Marcelo Bielsa’s new second-choice goalkeeper but what about the Leeds midfield?

Leeds lost Pablo Hernandez at the end of last season and while El Mago wasn’t a key player for the Whites in the Premier League, his exit does weaken Bielsa’s options slightly.

We also saw how Mateusz Klich struggled with the pace of the Premier League after such an incredible promotion-winning season in the Championship and the jury is still out on the likes of Tyler Roberts, Jamie Shackleton and the fit-again Adam Forshaw.

If Victor Orta doesn’t strengthen Leeds’ central midfield options, we may struggle to improve on what was achieved last season.

But that could be why the Yorkshire giants have turned their attention to Chelsea and England Under-21s midfielder Conor Gallagher.

According to The Athletic, Leeds have made an approach to sign the 21-year-old on a season-long loan with Chelsea willing to let the central midfielder leave on a temporary basis.

The Athletic’s Phil Hay added after that “Bielsa is very keen on him” as he likes Gallaghers “attributes and skill set”.

Gallagher spent last season on loan at West Brom and when you look at his stats, you can see why Bielsa likes him so much.

According to FBRef, Gallagher made 709 pressures in the Premier League last season, which ranked him third in the whole top-flight.

He was only successful with 180 of them but that still put him 14th, behind three Leeds players (Kalvin Phillips, Stuart Dallas and Luke Ayling).

Stats show that Gallagher also ranked joint-11th in the Premier League last term for passes blocked [55] and joint-13th for tackles won [53].

He also came 27th for the combined total of interceptions and tackles completed [121].

It’s fairly clear to see why Bielsa likes Gallagher. He’s a player who doesn’t give opponents a second of time to think before they act, constantly harrying them down and constantly showing he’s willing to stick a foot in and put his body on the line.

Only John McGinn [12] was booked more times than Gallagher [11] last term, which just goes to show how fearless he is when it comes to getting stuck in.

Ex-West Brom manager Slaven Bilic, as quoted by the Express & Star, even praised Gallagher for his ability to put the fear in opponents.

He said in November: “He is doing all the dirty work and managing the game but then he’s got quality in his locker as well and that, for a young boy, is not usual.

“I’ve seen it before with great players and he reminds me of them. So much quality but so mature at such a young age. You can see big things in him.”

With Klich the wrong side of 30, Roberts still developing and Hernandez leaving Leeds United, we feel as though Gallagher is the best option out there for Bielsa.

If the Chelsea midfielder can do that well while on loan at a West Brom side that was relegated, imagine what he’d be capable of in a team managed by Bielsa that dreams of playing in Europe.

In other Leeds United news, Andrea Radrizzani has called on this 32-year-old to change team after a baffling post on Twitter.