Why Ze Luis would be an unbelievable signing for Leeds United
Leeds United are interested in signing Spartak Moscow forward Ze Luis to strengthen their Championship title charge. According to reports in Russia, Marcelo Bielsa’s side have offered a staggering £10.5 million to bring the Cape Verde international to Elland Road.
The fee would eclipse what Leeds paid for Patrick Bamford last summer. It would make Ze Luis the Whites’ most expensive player since Robbie Fowler’s £11million move from Liverpool in November 2001. It highlights the Elland Road hierarchy’s desire to claim the Championship’s top spot and an automatic first return to the Premier League since 2004.
Good Move or Bad?
Ze Luis has shone at Spartak Moscow since arriving at the club in the summer of 2015. Since completing his move from Portuguese side Sporting Braga, the striker has scored 32 goals in 97 appearances and has assisted 22 goals.
He is one of the top players in the Russian league. The 28-year-old played a vital role in helping Spartak win the Russian Premier League and the Russian Super Cup double in 2017. He has also made 20 appearances in European competitions, scoring five goals.
Capped 17 times by Cape Verde, Ze Luis is an excellent finisher in the box. His explosive pace and acceleration make him a nightmare to mark for defenders. He is also excellent in the air, with his leap giving him an advantage over defenders.
The 28-year-old can also thread a good through ball as well as providing a key pass in the final third. This reflects in the 22 assists he has provided since joining the Russian side.
Ze Luis can operate anywhere across the forward line. The striker has scored 11 goals in 24 games for Spartak this season. He has averaged a goal every 140 minutes on the pitch in the Russian League, having already registered three goals so far in Europe this term.
The talented player would provide goals and combativeness in equal measure to this Leeds side. He is capable of leading the attack or cutting in from the flanks to help create goals. A fiery character, he’d easily become a favourite with Leeds fans who have previously taken to the likes of Pontus Jansson and Samu Saiz for their heart-on-the-sleeve performances.
Ze Luis is just another example of that. With five yellow cards to his name this season, he is clearly someone who will not shy away from getting involved when the going gets tough. All in all, he would be an unbelievable signing for Leeds.
Leeds United going all out to sign this explosive Dutch winger would be a massive statement of intent by Bielsa
Leeds United Opinion: Why the Whites should go all out for Jeremain Lens?
Leeds United could be set to reignite interest in Besiktas winger Jeremain Lens at the end of the season, according to a report from Turkish media outlet FotoMac.
FotoMac reported back in December that Leeds were monitoring the Dutchman ahead of a potential January bid. However, no move materialised in the January transfer window, as Marcelo Bielsa only managed to add Kiko Casilla and Mateusz Bogusz to his squad.
The Turkish outlet claims the 31-year-old could be available at the end of the season if he does not sign a new contract with Besiktas. Bielsa’s Leeds appear to be interested in luring him away to Elland Road.
Now, Leeds’ attention turns to the remaining two fixtures of the Championship season, which pitches them up against Aston Villa and Ipswich Town.
Even wins in the last two would not guarantee automatic promotion for Bielsa’s men, with Sheffield United needing just four points from their final two games of the season to join cross the line.
With or without promotion, the Yorkshire giants need reinforcements in the summer. The lure of Premier League football cannot be explained but even if they fail to get over the line at the end of the season, Bielsa should go all out to sign Jeremain Lens.
Lens has enjoyed a solid season with Besiktas, scoring five goals and supplying four assists in 32 games across all competitions after joining from Sunderland last summer. Despite the Dutch forward failing to light up the Premier League in his only season with Sunderland, he could turn out to be a shrewd signing for Leeds.
He is a forward blessed with plenty of pace and power and that coupled with smart movement in the final third makes him a difficult proposition for the defenders. Lens is a versatile player, who is capable of playing anywhere across the front-line.
This could see the 31-year-old provide some much-needed strength in attacking depth for Leeds, who have heavily relied on Kemar Roofe and Patrick Bamford this season.
As Lens is failing to agree on to a new contract with Besiktas, Leeds must take full advantage of the situation and get him in the summer.
The Dutch winger’s productivity in 2019 has been shocking that could prompt Leeds in not making a move for him. But just look at how Teemu Pukki has been a revelation for Norwich City this season despite failing to set the world alight at Schalke and Celtic.
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Similarly, Leeds should take a punt on Lens and hope things work out for both the parties.
Berardi to start at left-back? – Predicted 4-1-4-1 Leeds United XI to face Aston Villa
Leeds United vs Aston Villa predictions: Leeds United line-up
Leeds United host Aston Villa at Elland Road on Sunday aiming to bounce back to winning ways in the Championship.
Marcelo Bielsa’s side go into the game on the back of two successive defeats against Wigan and Brentford respectively. A victory for the Whites and defeat for second-placed Sheffield United at home to Ipswich Town will effectively confirm their playoff spot.
Aston Villa, in contrast, are on a 10-game winning run and will look to win at Elland Road at the weekend.
Ezgjan Alioski will miss the remaining games of the 2018/19 campaign after tearing his meniscus in the defeat at Brentford.
Other than the Macedonian, Bielsa has no fresh injury concerns ahead of the game.
Probable Leeds United XI
Manager: Marcelo Bielsa
Kiko Casilla (GK)
Casilla will be desperate to keep a clean sheet on Sunday after conceding four goals in the last two games.
Luke Ayling (RB)
The 27-year-old has done well for the Whites this season and is expected to continue at right-back.
Pontus Jansson (CB)
Jansson was awful in the defeats against Wigan and Brentford, lacking the basic defensive skills which are expected out of him. However, he will be desperate to redeem himself if given a chance at the weekend.
Liam Cooper (CB)
A reliable defender and a fantastic organiser of the backline, Cooper is one of the first names on the team sheet.
Gaetano Berardi (LB)
With Alioski ruled out for the remaining games of the season, Berardi could get a shot at left-back against Aston Villa.
Adam Forshaw (CDM)
Bielsa surprised many Leeds supporters by giving Forshaw the nod ahead of Phillips at Brentford. The move didn’t work wonders but Forshaw did his job well in an otherwise disappointing day in the office for Leeds.
Pablo Hernandez (RW)
The Spaniard is Leeds’ creative hub and he will be looking to bring back his best on Sunday.
Mateusz Klich (RCM)
Klich has been a regular fixture for the Whites this season. A sure certain for Sunday’s game.
Tyler Roberts (LCM)
An energetic, tireless and willing runner, Roberts will look to deliver the goods against an in-form Aston Villa side.
Jack Harrison (LW)
Harrison will have to be at his best and find those pockets of spaces behind the opposition players to influence the game at the weekend.
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Patrick Bamford (ST)
Bamford will be tasked to lead the attack once again as Bielsa aims to beat Aston Villa at Elland Road.
Adam Forshaw to continue in midfield? – Predicted 4-1-4-1 Leeds United XI to face Aston Villa
Leeds United vs Aston Villa Predictions: Leeds United Predicted XI
Leeds United started the season off in excellent fashion and right until about the midway point of the campaign, they were the favourites to seal the title. But as it turned out, since that point, they have fallen off the usual standards quite drastically.
Norwich City are now comfortable leaders at the top of the table and the Whites find themselves battling it out for 2nd place against Sheffield United with the Blades already 3 points ahead of Marcelo Bielsa’s men. With a crucial tie against 4th place Aston Villa around the corner, Leeds have to begin winning matches again if they are to gain promotion this term.
Goalkeeper Jamal Blackman has been ruled out for the remainder of the season with a shin problem. Barry Douglas’s involvement is also impossible for this tie, as he is currently recovering from an MCL injury and is only expected to back a few games into next season.
Predicted Leeds United XI
Manager: Marcelo Bielsa
GK Kiko Casilla
The former Real Madrid man was signed in January and has since made the starting role his own at Elland Road.
RB Luke Ayling
The defender hasn’t been in the best of form this season but will be looking prove his worth again in this tie.
CB Pontus Jansson
Jansson’s position in the Leeds first team has never been under question despite al the changes around him.
CB Liam Cooper
Only just returning from injury, it is essential for Cooper to come back all guns blazing given Leeds’ form.
LB Ezgjan Alioski
Barry Douglas’ long-term knock means that Alioski’s position in the side is currently unchallenged.
CM Adam Forshaw
The 27-year-old Liverpudlian has been one of Leeds’ key players this season controlling the game from midfield.
RM Kemar Roofe
The talismanic goalscorer could be utilised on the flanks as they attempts to add more firepower.
RCM Mateusz Klich
The Polish midfielder has been in decent form for Leeds and will have to step up in order to save their faltering season.
LCM Tyler Roberts
The youngster has come to the fore in recent weeks and he is expected to keep his place in the side for another week.
LM Pablo Hernandez
The Spaniard is a veteran of the English game and his services will be crucial to the success of Leeds’ season.
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ST Patrick Bamford
The former Chelsea forward has been in decent goalscoring touch and he should start in the striker’s role against Villa.
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