With the Championship season now well and truly in full swing and a Leeds squad, perhaps, a little light on numbers and options in some areas picking up injuries and suspensions, Could Marcelo Beilsa consider bringing in a free-agent or two to help out?
Though the transfer window has been long shut, players who have been unattached since that time are still able to join up at any point, and there are some notable names amongst them which could help United out in the short-term.
Whether this is something the Argentine would even consider remains to seen. Bielsa is an advocate for using the clubs academy players for most situations and is possibly more likely to do this again to counter defensive injuries and misfiring forwards.
However, as reported by LeedsLive there are definite options if the manager was to look for an experienced stop-gap. Goalkeeper Kiko Casilla, brought to the club by Bielsa from Real Madrid, has certainly had his ‘up’s and down’s in a Leeds shirt, and with no proper competition for his place, his performances in United’s goal are best described as mixed.
Should he need taking out the firing line and Bielsa look for an experienced and reliable replacement, former Swansea and Tottenham goalkeeper Michel Vorm is available. The 35-year-old Dutchman is still without a club since leaving White Hart Lane in the summer.
In light of Liam Cooper’s recent injury, and the lack of numbers in his squad defensively, could Bielsa make a move for Republic of Ireland defender Marc Wilson.
The 32-year-old is vastly experienced in English football’s top two tiers, having previously been at Portsmouth, Stoke City and Sunderland, and can also operate in the holding midfield role. Could United use his versatility at the moment? It’s certainly worth considering. Wilson is aerially dominant, quick across the ground and knows the level (and expectation of success in it) very well.
Another notable defender still available is Croatian international Ivan Strinic. The hugely experienced 32-year-old was a runner-up at the last World Cup and has been at some top clubs over recent years such as Dnipro, Napoli, Sampdoria and Milan.
Able to play at left-back and in central defence, Strinic would offer cover and versatility and, perhaps, allow Egzijan Alioski to play a little further forward.
United look well-stocked in midfield areas and doubtful Bielsa would see the need to strengthen there. They are, however, lacking in the forward department. With Patrick Bamford inconsistent, and Bielsa preferring to use Eddie Nketiah and Tyler Roberts from the bench, United could do with more options in attack.
Former Norwich City and Sheffield Wednesday striker Gary Hooper is still available and could offer the poachers instinct to finish off chances. Ex-Swansea City frontman Wilfied Bony is also available, though it’s doubtful he’d have the necessary mobility to play in a Bielsa team. Finally, former West Ham striker and Mali international Modibo Maiga remains a free-agent since leaving Thai football, though with his career seemingly heading backwards and being very similar in characteristics to United frontman Patrick Bamford, a move would appear unlikely.
So Bielsa does have a few options should he feel the need to recruit, and budgetary restraints allow it. He may though, again feel that turning to the squad’s younger players is a better option both long-term and in regards to fitness levels, as those out of the game may take time to get up to speed. If he doesn’t add to his squad in the short-term though, he must surely be looking to do so in January to help his side push on.