Bamford needs back-up – One position that Leeds need to strengthen this summer

Leeds United's Argentinian head coach Marcelo Bielsa watches from his bucket during the English Premier League football match between Leeds United and Brighton and Hove Albion at Elland Road in Leeds, northern England on January 16, 2021. (Photo by Jon Super / POOL / AFP) / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or 'live' services. Online in-match use limited to 120 images. An additional 40 images may be used in extra time. No video emulation. Social media in-match use limited to 120 images. An additional 40 images may be used in extra time. No use in betting publications, games or single club/league/player publications. / (Photo by JON SUPER/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

What position should Leeds United strengthen in the summer?

Leeds United and Marcelo Bielsa are having a splendid season in the Premier League. The Whites returned to the top-flight after 16 seasons by winning the EFL Championship last season. Much of the credit has to go down to their iconic manager, Marcelo Bielsa, who took charge of the club in 2018.

They were unlucky to miss out on promotion in 2019 but finally managed to make the climb last season. It was rather ambiguous as to how Bielsa and Leeds would perform in the top-flight.

However, they showed they meant business, right from the first whistle. They may have lost their first game but they surely pushed defending champions Liverpool to the limit.

Struijk made his Premier League debut this season in Leeds 4-3 loss to Liverpool. (GETTY Images)
Struijk made his Premier League debut this season in Leeds’ 4-3 loss to Liverpool. (GETTY Images)

Leeds have a very well assembled squad that looks like a good fit for the Premier League. They did well to add to their squad in the summer, spending close to £100million in transfers.

In came the likes of Raphinha, Rodrigo Moreno, Robin Koch, Illan Meslier, Diego Llorente and Helder Costa. Jack Harrison arrived for another loan spell too. So far, their signings have been astute. This meant that the club stayed quiet in the winter transfer window.

With Premier League survival pretty much guaranteed this season, Leeds can afford to draw up their plans for the summer. Though they brought in a lot of players last summer, there are some areas they need to bolster.

LEEDS, ENGLAND – DECEMBER 16: Rodrigo Moreno of Leeds United celebrates with teammates Jack Harrison, Patrick Bamford and Ezgjan Alioski after scoring their team’s second goal during the Premier League match between Leeds United and Newcastle United at Elland Road on December 16, 2020 in Leeds, England. (Photo by Rui Vieira – Pool/Getty Images)

Leeds could use another striker next season

An astonishing fact about this Leeds side is how they have used just one out-and-out natural striker in Patrick Bamford. The English striker has been leading the line for a while now and has carried the bulk of the scoring.

Last season, he went on to score 16 times in 45 games to help Leeds win automatic promotion. This season, he has taken it up a notch, netting 12 in 23 games while assisting 6 more (h/t Transfermarkt).

However, given how Bielsa has used Rodrigo, the club need a player to back up Bamford or play in his absence. Rodrigo has been used as an attacking midfielder or as a second striker. Since he has flourished in that role, it would be wise of Bielsa to not disrupt the same.

Leeds United’s Brazilian-born Spanish striker Rodrigo (L) celebrates with Leeds United’s English striker Patrick Bamford (R) after scoring their first goal during the English Premier League football match between Leeds United and Manchester City at Elland Road in Leeds, northern England on October 3, 2020. (Photo by JASON CAIRNDUFF/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

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The Whites are lucky that Bamford has not suffered any long-term injuries as it would have complicated things. Adding another centre-forward should be a priority for Victor Orta and Bielsa. It remains to be seen who they target and who is available but the centre-forward role is one Leeds need to strengthen in the summer.

Written by Sourav Ghosh

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