Why Leeds United have done the right thing by signing Diego Llorente
The Whites have already roped in German international Robin Koch from Freiburg to bolster their defensive unit this summer. But Marcelo Bielsa has further strengthened his backline with the addition of Llorente, who has signed a four-year contract. (h/t Sky Sports)
Diego Llorente graduated from the youth ranks of Real Madrid. But he featured largely for the club’s B and C teams in the lower divisions while making just 3 first-team appearances for Los Blancos.
Having struggled to establish himself at Madrid, Llorente enjoyed fruitful loan spells at Rayo Vallecano and Malaga before completing a permanent move to Real Sociedad in the summer of 2017. The 27-year-old went on to establish himself as one of the mainstays at the back for Sociedad, registering 8 goals in 88 appearances in all competitions.
Llorente made his international debut for Spain back in 2016 and has accumulated 5 senior caps for his nation so far.
Llorente adds more depth and quality to Leeds’ backline
Leeds United have made a positive start to life in the Premier League after making a return to the forefront of English football for the first time in 16 years. The Whites showed signs of promise in the 4-3 defeat against champions Liverpool on the opening day of the campaign before registering a win over fellow newcomers Fulham by the same scoreline.
While Bielsa’s side have most certainly caught the eye with their tireless pressing and aesthetic attacking football, the West Yorkshire giants have looked vulnerable at the back. That can be a major stumbling block in their hopes of securing a respectable finish in the top-flight at the end of the season.
Leeds currently have Liam Cooper and summer signing Robin Koch as their only specialist centre-back options, which is definitely not enough considering the hectic schedule of Premier League and the challenge of participating in the domestic cup competitions.
The likes of Pascal Struijk, Luke Ayling and Kalvin Phillips are all capable of playing at the heart of the defence. But it goes without saying that the arrival of a La Liga stalwart like Diego Llorente would hand a massive boost to the club’s backline.
The Spaniard boasts 138 career appearances in the Spanish top-flight for Real Sociedad, Rayo Vallecano, Malaga, and Real Madrid. This clearly suggests that Llorente would provide Bielsa with some much-needed quality and experience at the back.
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The 27-year-old ticks the box as a proven performer at the highest level and still has several years remaining in his prime. Given Leeds’ lack of quality and experience at the back, Llorente’s signing is certainly a step in the right direction from Bielsa & co.