MOT View: Emerging Leeds talent could pull brakes on reported talks to sign new player
Pascal Struijk has been somewhat of an unexpected revelation for Leeds United since Marcelo Bielsa started handing him more first-team opportunities at the back-end of last season.
Struijk, 20, played five times in the Championship for the Whites last term, with three of those coming in the final three matches of the title-winning campaign.
The former Ajax youngster was handed a Premier League debut by Bielsa at the weekend and although Leeds lost 4-3 away at Anfield to reigning champions Liverpool, there haven’t been many bad words said about the emerging talent.
Stats by WhoScored show that the Dutch-Belgian defender completed more accurate passes  than any other player on the pitch.
Virgil van Dijk is one of the most famous ball-playing defenders in the world but Struijk but his fellow countryman to shame with the way he sprayed the ball out of the Leeds defence.
Struijk also won four tackles to rank him joint-third of all players who played at Anfield, was not dribbled past once and completed a joint-high three interceptions.
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It was some performance by Struijk despite Leeds conceding four goals – although two of them came from the penalty spot and neither were his fault.
But where does Struijk’s form leave Leeds’ pursuit of Josko Gvardiol?
According to Sky Sports Italy journalist Fabrizio Romano, Leeds have submitted a bid worth £19.9million to sign the 18-year-old defender from Dinamo Zagreb, with a 20 per cent sell-on clause also included.
Gvardiol is dubbed as one of the best young prospects in European football by The Athletic’s Phil Hay but there is no denying that Leeds are offering up a lot of money for someone who does not have a lot of experience.
And that makes us wonder whether pursuing a deal for the Croatia Under-21 defender is worthwhile so using information by WyScout we’ve put together a comparison of all their first-team stats.
Gvardiol’s numbers are slightly better than Struijk but if Bielsa wanted a left-sided centre-back who can pass the ball out of the defence – he already has one.
It’ll be interesting to see if Struijk is ever used as a makeshift left-back as he has done as a defensive midfielder when Kalvin Phillips was injured at the end of last season.
We’re not rubbishing Gvardiol and we don’t want to big Struijk up too much but that display of his at Anfield will have given Bielsa and Victor Orta some food for thought.
In other Leeds United news, a Serie A expert has shared a worrying update on Rodrigo De Paul.