Can Radrizzani’s policy of bringing in foreign talent get Leeds United promoted?

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Photo: leedsunited.com

Leeds United looked set to at least make the play-offs last season before fading towards the business end of proceedings but, in early August, the quest for a return to the Premier League will get under way once again.

Thomas Christiansen is the latest man charged with the task of getting the Yorkshire outfit back into the promised land after Garry Monk’s resignation and he has already made his intentions clear with a few summer signings.

Newcastle proved last term that a mixture of English and foreign stars can bring success with their immediate return to the top-flight and the Danish tactician appears to be adopting a similar policy.

It always looked likely that giant defender Pontus Jansson would join on a permanent basis after a successful loan spell and the Sweden international is on board for another three years.

With Kyle Bartley’s return to Swansea City after a loan period at Elland Road, Jansson needs a central defensive partner and the new coach is looking at another overseas player, with Bologna defender Filip Helander the target.

The 24-year-old is also a Sweden international and the hope is that the pair can forge a partnership at Leeds and for the Scandinavian nation as they did together at Malmo in the Allsvenskan.

It is a transfer that makes sense given the importance of stability and continuity at the back in what is a marathon campaign in England’s second tier.

One area that definitely needed addressing is up front as the Whites only bagged 61 Championship goals last season and were way behind the top two in that category.

Chris Wood’s superb haul of 27 was not enough to make the play-offs and Christiansen has yet to recruit any help for the giant New Zealand international, but there is still plenty of time for business to be done.

Midfielder Mateusz Klich has been snapped up from Dutch side FC Twente but the Poland international is more of a defensive-minded player and will not contribute much to the goals column throughout the season.

United have also recruited Werder Bremen goalkeeper Felix Wiedwald on a three-year deal, who made 26 appearances for the Bundesliga side last season, helping them to an eighth-place finish.

Foreign players are generally cheaper than British and it would be no surprise to see new owner Andrea Radrizzani and Christianson combine to bring in more overseas stars.

It remains to be seen if it is a policy that will reap rewards but there are few sides with Premier League ambitions that base their squad around just home grown players any more.

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United will be among the favourites for promotion, along with the three relegated sides and getting off to a solid start will be key to their chances.

Christianson has no experience of English football and has arrived at Leeds after spells at two Cypriot clubs, but that may not be a bad thing as he will head into the season with no baggage and a determination to prove himself at one of the sleeping giants of the game.

Whether they can do it this season is open to debate but, after a few turbulent years, it seems as though the foundations are in place for a crack at the big time.