Having come so close to promotion last year, Leeds United are being very aggressive in their pursuits of finding the talent that will take them over the top and back into the Premier League, searching high and low across the country for their man, from Bristol to Carlisle.
However, they could be set to go abroad for their next target, with reports coming in from El Desmarque that Ander Itturaspe will be looking for a new club after seeing out his contract with Athletic Bilbao. Could a reunion with his former boss at Athletic Bilbao Marcelo Bielsa could be on the cards?
Kalvin Phillips has been linked with a move away from Elland Road for some time now, it’s one of the three rumours that have surrounded Leeds United seemingly all summer, adding to the constant reports surrounding Jack Clarke and their search to find a new winger after going through nearly every name under the sun.
Now here’s where the two stories can come together, although I think you can probably tell where I’m going, but just to make sure.
If Aston Villa are bidding anywhere near the £14m that they are reported to, then this is a no brainer for Bielsa and Leeds to take the deal. Phillips out, and Itturaspe in. Given how they’ve worked together before, I have no doubt that he’ll be able to coach Itturaspe during the so-called ‘bedding in’ period that most international talent goes through when playing in England. And his experience in playing in Spain and in European competitions will be vital in helping take Leeds to the next level as a team.
Whilst Kalvin Phillips did also occasionally turn up as a central defender on occasion, meaning they’d be short a position as Itturaspe is more of a pure defensive midfielder, they can use the money they get from selling him to fund a search for a new central defender to cover for him.
I know that Phillips was a crucial part is how Leeds operated last year, but there comes a point where you just have to make the hard decision to let a man go. You can’t afford to be sentimental and keep holding out for the perfect price.
At the end of the day, it’s better to get 75% of what you want for him and reinvest that across the squad than miss out on the money and end up regretting not being able to fund the search for that new striker or winger, that could take you over the top.