Why Leeds United should go back in the market for Luiz Felipe
Back in August, Italian outlet La Lazio Siamo Noi (h/t The Sun) had reported that Leeds United were interested in signing Brazilian centre-back Luiz Felipe from Lazio in the summer. The report claimed that the Whites were set to table a £27million bid for the 23-year-old, who was valued at £33million by the Serie A outfit back then.
However, Leeds eventually shifted their focus to other targets and signed Diego Llorente and Robin Koch to bolster their backline before the conclusion of the transfer window.
A youth exponent of Brazilian club Ituano, Luiz Felipe made only a handful of appearances in his homeland before being scouted by Lazio in 2016. He spent the 2016-17 campaign on loan at Salernitana in the Italian second-tier before establishing himself as a first-team player for Biancocelesti in the following season.
The 23-year-old has since clocked up 87 appearances for Lazio in all competitions, scoring twice and registering 4 assists. Felipe was instrumental as the Italian giants finished 4th in the Serie A last term and secured a return to the Champions League for the first time in 13 years.
Felipe would add more depth to Leeds’ backline
Leeds United roped in two international calibre centre-backs – Diego Llorente and Robin Koch – in the summer to bolster Marcelo Bielsa’s backline. Despite that, however, the Whites still seem to lack adequate depth in that department.
Llorente is yet to make his debut for Leeds, having arrived at Elland Road with a pre-sustained injury. Captain Liam Cooper has also found himself in and out of the side due to his ongoing struggles with injuries, leaving Bielsa with Koch as the only specialist option at the heart of the defence.
With Kalvin Phillips also out injured, the manager has rotated Pascal Struijk and Luke Ayling to cover for the absentees at the back. Ayling has looked fairly comfortable in an unfamiliar central defensive role but the same can’t be said of Struijk, who has very little senior experience under his belt.
Suffice to say, Leeds ideally need a specialist fourth centre-back option to establish the right kind of balance in their squad. As much as they have promised in the final third, the Whites have looked somewhat vulnerable at the back. That is something they will surely need to work on in the coming months.
To put things into perspective, making a renewed attempt to sign Luiz Felipe in January would definitely go a long way towards solving a nagging issue in a key area of the pitch for Marcelo Bielsa. The Brazilian is widely regarded as one of the best young central defenders in Italy and has backed up his strong domestic performances with some quality displays in Europe over the years.
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Standing at 6ft 2in with a towering frame, Luiz Felipe certainly has the physicality to cope with the demands of playing in the Premier League. He still has his best years ahead of him, thus potentially making the Brazilian an excellent long-term signing for the West Yorkshire giants.
The 23-year-old has less than two years remaining on his current deal at Lazio, so the door pretty much remains open for Leeds to test the Serie A outfit’s resolve over the defender with a handsome bid in January.