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.
[Image] Here’s the EFL Championship TOTW for gameweek 7 featuring Middlesbrough and Leeds stars
2019-20 EFL Championship: Team of the Week Round 7
Round 7 of the 2019-20 EFL Championship had everything in store for all sections of the fans to savour and admire, as the players returned to action following the end of the international break.
There was hardly any shortage of twists, turns and talking points in Round 7. Leeds United reclaimed top spot in the standings, Swansea and Charlton Athletic lost their unbeaten status, Stoke City and Huddersfield Town continued their losing habits and West Brom remained the only unbeaten side in the division.
There were some fantastic individual performances too, and with that in mind, here’s the Team of the Week for Round 7 in a 4-3-3 formation.
Championship Team of the Week
Darren Randolph (GK)
The Irish shot-stopper made some crucial saves to propel Middlesbrough to a 1-0 victory over Reading at the Riverside Stadium and he definitely deserves a place in the elite elven.
Scott Malone (LB)
Derby County remained in the bottom half with a 1-1 draw against Cardiff City but the left-back put in a much-improved performance as compared to his previous outings and scored the Rams’ only goal.
Maxime Colin (RB)
Birmingham City broke into the top-ten by ending Charlton’s unbeaten run with a 1-0 victory away from home, and the Frenchman was instrumental in the Blues’ win with his solid display at the back.
Derrick Williams (CB)
The Irish centre-back was one of the standout performers, as Blackburn Rovers got themselves back to winning ways with a 2-0 victory over Millwall.
Darragh Lenihan (CB)
One of the architects of Blackburn’s victory at the weekend, the Irish defender is one of the surprise inclusions in this week’s elite eleven.
Kalvin Phillips (CDM)
The central midfielder put up yet another dogged display in the midfield to guide Leeds United to a 2-0 victory over Barnsley, registering an assist with a free-kick for Nketiah’s goal.
Eberechi Eze (RAM)
The Nigerian has really come of age for QPR this term and the attacking midfielder was once again one of the driving forces behind his team’s 3-2 victory over Luton Town, registering a goal and an assist in the process.
Mateusz Klich (LAM)
The Polish international once again proved his worth as one of Marcelo Bielsa’s trusted lieutenants in the middle of the park and secured a 2-0 victory for his team with a well-taken penalty towards the end of the game.
Robert Glatzel (RW)
The towering German centre-forward equalised from the penalty spot for Cardiff City in the Bluebirds’ 1-1 draw against Derby County and finally registered his first goal of the EFL Championship.
Harry Cornick (LW)
Luton lost a five-goal thriller at Loftus Road but Cornick impressed with a goal and an assist in what was a fine individual performance.
Nakhi Wells (ST)
A proven source of goals in the EFL Championship, Wells bagged a brace in QPR’s 3-2 victory over Luton Town to hand Mark Warburton’s side a third consecutive victory in the league.
3 Winners and 3 Losers from Championship gameweek 7 including Leeds United and Swansea City
2019-20 EFL Championship: 3 Winners and 3 Losers from Round 7
The players returned to action for their respective clubs this weekend when the international break finally came to an end and Round 7 of the 2019-20 EFL Championship witnessed quite a few twists and turns, most notably, with Leeds United displacing Swansea City to reclaim the top spot in the standings.
Swansea and newly-promoted Charlton Athletic both saw their unbeaten run in the division come to a halt, while Stoke City and Huddersfield Town once again finished the week at the bottom of the table with defeats against Bristol City and Sheffield Wednesday respectively.
Elsewhere, West Brom drew 1-1 away at Fulham to remain the only unbeaten side in the Championship after seven rounds. Without further ado, let us take a look at 3 winners and 3 losers from Round 7:
1. Leeds United
A narrow 1-0 defeat at the hands of Swansea City at home in the previous league fixture saw Leeds United go into the international break placed second in the standings but Marcelo Bielsa’s side reclaimed the top spot with a comfortable 2-0 victory away at Barnsley on Sunday, overtaking the Swans, who slumped to an unexpected 1-0 defeat at home against Nottingham Forest.
The Whites dominated the proceedings but it took them as long as 84 minutes to finally break the deadlock, thanks to Eddie Nketiah’s opener off a free kick from Kalvin Phillips.
Nketiah then earned the penalty for Mateusz Klich to make it 2-0 just before the end of the game and the Yorkshire giants should be pleased to get back to the top of the table after a long and hard grind against the newly-promoted outfit.
2. Bristol City
The Robins went into the fixture against Stoke City away from home on the back of an unbeaten run of five games in the EFL Championship and a 2-1 victory saw Lee Johnson’s side stretch their streak to six games.
Sam Clucas gave the Potters the lead with a crisp strike from inside the box but Stoke were always going to be in trouble after Joe Allen received a straight red card for a horrible lunge.
Famara Diedhiou’s header levelled the scores in the 55th minute before a failed goalline clearance from Tom Edwards sealed things for Bristol City, who finished the week placed 4th in the standings.
Queens Park Rangers had the chance to make it three in a row in the Championship this weekend when they played host to newly-promoted Luton Town at Loftus Road, having beaten Wigan Athletic and Sheffield Wednesday prior to the international break.
And Mark Warburton’s side edged past the Hatters in a 3-2 thriller on Saturday, with the victory pushing them to 7th place in the standings just behind the likes of West Brom and Preston on goal difference.
When Eberechi Eze opened the scoring in the third minute and Nakhi Wells made it 3-0 before the half-hour mark with a quickfire brace, it looked as if the hosts were heading for a pretty straightforward victory.
Luton, though, showed a lot of character to get back into the game with goals from Harry Cornick and James Collins but that wasn’t enough to prevent QPR from making it 4 wins out of 7.
1. Swansea City
Swansea started Round 7 at the top of the standings after their victory over Leeds United in the last game but Steve Cooper’s side saw their unbeaten run come to a sudden halt at the hands of Nottingham Forest, who bagged all three points at the Liberty Stadium courtesy of Alfa Semedo’s 85th-minute goal.
The Swans had more of the possession throughout the game but they failed to create enough clear-cut chances and Cooper has every reason to be disappointed with his team’s efforts after the international break.
2. Charlton Athletic
Charlton’s fairytale start to the EFL Championship finally came to an end this weekend as the Addicks went down 1-0 to Birmingham City at The Valley, courtesy of a solitary strike from Jude Bellingham in the second half.
The Addicks enjoyed a lot of possession and carved out a few decent chances but it just wasn’t their day in front of goal and they will be looking to get themselves back to winning ways when they make the trip to Wigan Athletic next week.
3. Stoke City
The fans at the Bet 365 Stadium would have hoped for the turnaround of fortunes for their team after the international break but it wasn’t to be, as Bristol City beat the Potters 2-1 on their home turf to inflict a fourth straight defeat in the Championship and sixth overall in the league so far.
Sam Clucas’ early opener certainly gave them hope but Bristol City were always going to be the favourites when Joe Allen received a straight red card in the 12th minute. Up next for Nathan Jones’ side is a trip to Brentford.
2 Highs and 2 Lows from Leeds United’s start to the season
2 Highs and 2 Lows from how Leeds United have started the season
Leeds United have made a positive start to life in their second season under the reign of Marcelo Bielsa after a playoff defeat earlier in the summer damned them to yet another campaign of Championship football.
A 1-0 defeat to Swansea City at home last weekend ended the Whites’ unbeaten run in the league but the manager has plenty of positives to take from the club’s impressive start to the ongoing campaign.
Indeed, those agonising memories of how Leeds blew away a golden chance to make it back to the Premier League last season are still likely to be fresh in the minds of the supporters.
However, the Whites have already laid down an early marker that they are once again going to be strong contenders for promotion this term and with that in mind, let us take a look at a few positives and negatives from their start to the season.
1. Absolutely no hangover of last season’s failure
Having seen their hopes of making a much-awaited return to the Premier League come to nothing last season, it was always going to be intriguing to see whether Leeds United would be able to put all the disappointment behind them and raise themselves to compete for promotion all over again.
Well, it’s only six games into the season but the fans at Elland Road should be pleased with the way their team has performed in the opening rounds of the season.
Those monsters from last season’s play-off agony against Derby County have hardly come back to haunt the Whites and the players certainly haven’t lacked any sort of commitment and motivation, as evident from their performances so far.
In fact, Leeds have looked like a well-oiled unit in most of the games and when at their best, the Whites have produced some sparkling attacking football to ensure that the fans get their money’s worth.
Leeds were the architects of their own downfall for a number of reasons towards the end of last season and Marcelo Bielsa certainly deserves a lot of credit for inspiring his team to a promising start this term.
2. Bamford and Nketiah getting amongst the goals
One of the key takeaways from Leeds United’s failed bid for promotion in the previous campaign was the absence of a prolific striker, with Kemar Roofe’s tally of 15 goals not enough to match the exploits of some of his counterparts from the promotion rivals.
And plenty of eyebrows were raised when the Whites sanctioned the sale of last season’s top-scorer, Roofe, this summer, whilst bringing in youngster Eddie Nketiah on loan from Arsenal to provide cover and competition for Patrick Bamford.
Bamford struggles with injuries and his failure to deliver the goods consistently had come back to haunt Leeds badly last season but the fans will breathe a sigh of relief following the former Chelsea man’s promising start to the ongoing campaign.
The 26-year-old has already chipped in with 4 goals and an assist in 6 starts, while Nketiah, yet to start a game in the league, has already netted thrice in all competitions, including the winner as a substitute in the 1-0 victory over Brentford.
With Tyler Roberts also on the comeback trail from injury, Leeds will be hoping that Bamford and Nketiah continue their impressive run of form in front of goal and more importantly, manage to keep themselves free of injuries.
1. Home Form
Bielsa, though, is likely to be aware of his team’s inconsistent run of form in the home fixtures since the second half of the previous campaign.
Leeds turned Elland Road into a fortress in the earlier stages of the 2018-19 season but their home form took a significant turnaround in the latter stages of the campaign, something that has continued to haunt them this term as well.
Leeds have won only one of their three fixtures in the Championship this season, with the Whites accumulating just 4 points in those 3 league games.
They also lost at home to Stoke City in the second round of the EFL Cup, a result which came as a surprise to many.
2. Defending Set-Pieces
Leeds currently boast of the best defensive record in the Championship, having conceded only thrice in their first six games in the league.
With new signing Ben White taking well to the surroundings at Elland Road and filling the void left by the departure of Pontus Jansson, the Yorkshire giants have looked rock solid at the back so far.
However, it is worth mentioning here that 3 of the 5 goals that they have conceded in all competitions so far have come from corners, a fact that might have gone under the radar due to their impressive start to the season.
That seems pretty ironical though, given that both White and Liam Cooper are strong in the air and very much adept at dealing with crosses.
This is something that a detail-oriented manager like Bielsa would have taken note of and the Argentine will certainly point it out to his defenders on the training ground once the international break gets over.
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Plus, the goal that they conceded against Swansea was a result of some sloppy defending, to be honest, with the players failing to get the ball away to safety on a number of occasions.
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