Leeds United are almost certainly going to have to make a move for a new centre-back this summer.
With Ben White set to return to Brighton, and with no indication that he will be allowed to return to the Whites in the coming weeks, a replacement is likely to be a necessity.
One name that has been continually linked is that of Tottenham Hotspur defender Juan Foyth.
The Sun even went as far as to say that Leeds were readying a £15 million bid for the player, and while Leeds Live reporter Beren Cross has cast some doubt over whether or not the Whites are actually on the cusp of making an offer, there is no saying that a firmer interest couldn’t materialise in the coming days and weeks.
And despite the fact that he has fallen down the pecking order in north London, there is nothing to suggest that he couldn’t be a hit in Yorkshire.
Only factoring in the matches in which he has played at centre-back this season, Foyth has averaged a higher pass completion rate than White, as well as a higher dribble completion rate, a higher total action success rate, more interceptions, more clearances, and a higher percentage of defensive duels won per 90 minutes, as per Wyscout.
That’s incredibly impressive, whichever way you choose to look at it.
Above is Foyth’s interceptions map from Spurs’ clash against Bayern Munich in December.
The South American made 10 interventions, all of which came inside his own box.
If nothing else, it illustrates fantastic awareness and a real presence at the heart of defence, especially when the going gets tough.
Another key trait of any defender that Marcelo Bielsa is likely to move for is the ability to distribute.
Above is Foyth’s pass map from his outing against Sheffield United in October.
His completion rate was 96% – 8% higher than White’s average, and 5.4% higher than his own.
What is really striking, however, is the range of passing.
Foyth can spray balls about all over the shop with confidence and precision.
It’s not just about long diagonals and clearances over the top though.
The one key pass that Foyth made in that game showed a real incisiveness, dissecting two United players to find Harry Winks in acres of space on the edge of the box.
His subsequent shot was poor, but the vision and creativity in the build-up will surely be something that would interest Bielsa.
At the moment, taking things at face value, it would appear that there is no concrete interest in Foyth.
If that is to change, however, we would absolutely be in favour of a summer swoop.
He could be the ideal man to take on the unenviable task of replacing White.
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