Leeds: The summer transfer window and what they need to do

Analysis, insight and opinion on what Leeds will do in the transfer market this summer...

Image: Leeds

Which positions are Leeds targeting in the summer transfer window? Which players fit the bill? And what do the stats say?

Which positions are Leeds targeting?

Leeds will look to finally tie down Jack Harrison to a permanent deal after three years on loan at Elland Road from Manchester City, but given the 24-year-old's Premier League form in his first top-flight test, he may not come cheap.

Elsewhere, there are serious questions over the future of Ezgjan Alioski, who is out of contract in June. Marcelo Bielsa has suggested Leeds would offer him a contract renewal if he wanted one, but time is running out and the club will need to search for a new left-back if he does leave.

Having missed out on Udinese midfielder Rodrigo De Paul last summer, Leeds continue to search for a player in his mould and have been linked with a return move for the Argentina international.

Record signing Rodrigo scored twice in Leeds' 4-0 win at Burnley earlier this month, but Bielsa is still on the lookout for another striker to challenge top scorer Patrick Bamford, while a back-up for Kalvin Phillips, whose position has been filled by both Robin Koch and Pascal Struijk when he has been absent this season, with mixed results, is also on the list.

What do the stats say about Leeds?

Leeds have often been accused of playing games like a 'basketball match' and the stats back it up - they have the lowest 'passes per defensive action' ratio in the entire Premier League.

This metric, first defined nearly a decade ago, divides the number of passes played by an opponent in their defensive three fifths of the pitch (i.e just over the half-way line, into the half they are attacking) by the number of tackles, interceptions, failed tackles and fouls made by the team in question. So the more defensive 'actions', the lower the ppda.

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Unsurprisingly, for a team playing such high-octane football, Leeds top the board across the division, a statistic totally in line with anyone who has seen the intensity with which Bielsa's side play.

Despite that, Leeds have conceded 54 goals across the season, only one more than Fulham and nine fewer than Sheffield United, who were both relegated.

The problem is pretty clear, and another table-topper - but for the wrong reasons. No one has shipped more goals from set-pieces than Leeds, who have conceded 23 from corners, free-kicks and penalties.

What the manager has said

On his own future, which is still not confirmed for next season, Bielsa said ahead of Sunday's final game with West Brom: "I can't not say I have revised with the authorities of the club all the variables that means to carry on. But like I say, I prefer for the season to finish and take the decision of all the elements of judgement on the table."

On whether he needs a Kalvin Phillips replacement, he said after Leeds' win at Burnley the previous week: "The games Kalvin played prior to getting injured, from West Ham all the way up until to the games against Manchester United, he had a very good level.

"It was the best of him this season and quickly after he returned he was in good form. And also for the future of Leeds, the squad, the level Koch showed in the same position as Phillips prior to the game against Tottenham.

"The feeling was Phillips didn't have a replacement in the team and after the game against Tottenham, Koch showed himself to be a very valuable option and at some point in time, Ben White also replaced Phillips efficiently.

"Kalvin has shown how important he is for Leeds, but it's also good to know that we have different options of quality."

On Alioski's potential departure, as far back as January he said: "I'm only one opinion in regards to the equation or evaluation of whether Alioski stays or not. First and foremost, the most important thing is that he wants to stay.

"I think when it comes to a player staying at a club the first thing, the most important thing is that the player wants to stay. The player should choose the club and after the club will decide whether they want him.

"But the main condition, the most important thing is the player wanting to stay. I think if Alioski chooses Leeds, Leeds will choose Alioski."

What should Leeds do this summer?

Sky Sports News' Tim Thornton:

"Pablo Hernandez and Gaetano Berardi both played their final games for Leeds United on Sunday, and a busy summer lies ahead for the Yorkshire club.

"Leeds are expected to make significant investment in the squad with several key signings expected to arrive at Elland Road.

"The future of Ezgjan Alioski also remains uncertain with his contract due to expire at Elland Road this summer."

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