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Leeds going back in for their £13.5m summer target would solve a nagging issue for Bielsa

Geoffrey Kondogbia is one of the best defensive midfielders in La Liga (Getty Images)
Geoffrey Kondogbia had been linked with a move to Leeds United this past summer (Getty Images)

Why Leeds United should return for Geoffrey Kondogbia next summer

According to claims from journalist Cristina Bea (h/t Leeds Live) back in October last year, Leeds United were mentioned among the potential suitors for Geoffrey Kondogbia, who was plying his trade with Valencia back then.

It was even reported that the Whites were willing to pay £13.5million to secure his services but the African enforcer eventually ended up completing a move to Spanish rivals Atletico Madrid. 

More competition for places?

Leeds United roped in some quality players to upgrade their squad after securing promotion to the Premier League for the first time in 16 years. Defenders like Robin Koch and Diego Llorente were roped in to improve the backline. Rodrigo Moreno and Raphinha also came through the door, to add more quality to the forward line.

Geoffrey Kondogbia has been a key figure for Valencia (Getty Images)
Geoffrey Kondogbia has struggled for regular minutes at Atletico Madrid (Getty Images)

However, the Whites were unsuccessful in their efforts to make fresh additions to their midfield cavalry. As a result, Leeds went into the campaign with limited options in the middle of the park and that has already come back to haunt them in the top-flight. 

While Mateusz Klich and Kalvin Phillips have continued to flourish as the mainstays of the club’s midfield, lack of quality alternatives has been a glaring issue at Elland Road. The likes of Pascal Struijk and Jamie Shackleton have struggled to make the step up to the top-flight, leaving Bielsa with very little cover for Phillips in the defensive midfield position.

Klich has clearly been overused and while Stuart Dallas has filled the void at times, the Northern Irishman is essentially a winger by trade.

Valencia’s French midfielder Geoffrey Kondogbia (L) challenges Real Betis’ Paraguayan forward Arnaldo Sanbria during the Spanish League football match between Valencia CF and Real Betis at the Mestalla stadium in Valencia on October 3, 2020. (Photo by JOSE JORDAN/AFP via Getty Images)

Kondogbia an ideal signing for Leeds?

Suffice to say, Leeds need at least another midfielder to ensure healthy competition for places. Reigniting interest in Geoffrey Kondogbia, to that end, could be a feasible option for the Whites. The all-action African enforcer is yet to start a league fixture since joining Atletico Madrid, struggling to establish himself under Diego Simeone.

Leeds should, therefore, try to convince him to move to Elland Road at the end of the season with the promise of regular game time. The 27-year-old has played for some top clubs like Sevilla, Monaco, Inter Milan and Valencia, boasting plenty of experience in the elite leagues of Europe.

A player with Champions League exposure, Kondogbia would add some much-needed depth and quality to Leeds’ midfield in the coming seasons. Essentially a defensive midfielder by trade, Kondogbia is also capable of slotting into a box-to-box role. Such a trait of versatility would offer Bielsa some valuable cover for the likes of Phillips and Klich.

CORNELLA, SPAIN – JANUARY 06: Geoffrey Kondogbia of Atletico de Madrid competes for the ball with Pablo Fernandez of Cornella during the Copa del Rey second-round match between Cornella and Atletico Madrid at Nou Municipal de Cornella de Llobregat on January 06, 2021, in Cornella, Spain. (Getty Images)

Verdict

It has been evident from how things have panned out for Leeds in the top-flight that they need more depth in their squad. Geoffrey Kondogbia ticks the box as a seasoned campaigner with the experience and quality to make an impact in the Premier League. 

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With several years still remaining in his prime at 27, Leeds should definitely take a punt on the Atletico star.

Written by Sayan Chatterjee

A Premier League enthusiast and an avid follower of the beautiful game.

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