Sky Sports pundit Alan Smith shares miserable Leeds United prediction
Leeds United will join newly-promoted sides Bournemouth and Fulham in being relegated from the Premier League this year believes Alan Smith.
The Whites escaped the drop on the final day of the season in 2021/22, with victory at Brentford, but have lost their two biggest stars this summer after Kalvin Phillips went to Manchester City and Raphinha, eventually, moved to Barcelona.
However, they have spent all the money brought in via those two sales on six new signings, including three with previous experience of working with manager Jesse Marsch in Brenden Aaronson, Tyler Adams, and Rasmus Kristensen.
They spent big on winger Luis Sinisterra and also brought in midfielder Marc Roca from Bayern Munich, as well as the youngster Darko Gyabi from City, but that isn’t enough for Sky man Smith.
Speaking on Sky Sports News, in a video posted to YouTube, the former Arsenal striker said: “Southampton and Leeds are two… with Phillips and Raphinha [going].
“I’m going to go Leeds. Sorry Leeds fans.”
In the balance
At this stage it feels like all possibilities are still in play for United’s prospects this season, as the squad has been refitted in the manager’s image but has lost two huge influences.
It wasn’t always clear to see how Marsch’s tactics were working on the squad down the stretch last season, as he took over a team so heavily moulded in Marcelo Bielsa’s image and had to try to grind out results immediately.
There has been a transition from a Championship squad that had been elevated to new heights by the inspirational Argentine coach, to one that has added numerous new additions with a view to cementing their place in the top flight.
There are still question marks at left-back where Junior Firpo has been given the starting role despite struggling last season, and is currently recovering from injury, as well as up front where Patrick Bamford’s fitness could throw the position into turmoil.
The club have been targeting big-money support at striker, although there has been far less noise about new arrivals at left-back.
Depending on how players come back from injury, and new signings adapt to the league, results could go either way.
Marsch is all about positivity so, despite what one man claims to know, there has to be hope that a even difficult start doesn’t descend into a real mess and morale can stay high.
There certainly looks to be enough to suggest that the Whites were scared by last season’s travails and can avoid a repeat, but the proof will be in the performances on the pitch.
In other Leeds United news, an influential new signing is “very possible” in the coming weeks.