It is no secret that Marcelo Bielsa has mentored some of today’s best coaches, with Pep Guardiola and Mauricio Pochettino both being students who have excelled in management under his guidance.
Now at Manchester City, Guardiola has this year guided them to the pinnacle of English football by winning the Premier League title as well as a successful stint in the Champions League.
The former Barcelona boss was keen to experiment with his squad including both senior and youth players in the starting XI – but not all of the younger members of the squad that were included in the first team last year will necessarily be guaranteed a permanent role for the upcoming season.
Leeds head coach Bielsa’s close relationship with Guardiola could allow the Yorkshiremen to profit from this and bring in some of the underutilised, but talented players in the City side that aren’t being given a consistent opportunity – but who would be the best fit for Marcelo Bielsa’s new-look Leeds United?
Leeds United’s goalkeeping situation has been precarious to say the least after the antics of Felix Wiedwald and Andy Lonergan last season, with only confident academy product Bailey Peacock-Farrell showing any signs of quality between the sticks.
Although Lonergan only made a few blunders, Wiedwald’s errors were high profile and visibly affected the morale of his teammates during games last year and this was certainly a factor in the Whites’ downward spiral towards the end of the season.
The Elland Road faithful will have been happy to see confirmation that German side Eintracht Frankfurt have acquired the 28-year-old off Leeds’ books, leaving a vacant goalkeeping spot in the squad for the upcoming season.
— Leeds United (@LUFC) June 19, 2018
Leeds’ head coach Marcelo Bielsa’s connections with Manchester City through teaching Pep Guardiola during his career could certainly come in handy – Angus Gunn, a name that has been linked with the Whites since May, could be one of the players that Bielsa seeks to acquire.
The 22-year-old stopper stands at 6ft 6in and enjoyed a full season on loan at Championship rivals Norwich City last year. The Citizens have two quality goalkeepers at the Etihad in Ederson Moraes and Claudio Bravo and this could tempt Guardiola to loan the keeper out again, in a move that would promise more first team football than he would get playing under the Spaniard.
After Leeds’ goalkeeping worries last year, Gunn would be the perfect replacement for the departing Felix Wiedwald.
If there’s one player in the English champions’ squad that would suit the demanding football that Bielsa likes to play, it would be Phil Foden.
He will be keen to prove to the coaching staff at Manchester City that he can be a regular fixture in the first team in the coming years after featuring in cameo roles towards the latter stages of their title winning campaign.
Although the acquisition of Adam Forshaw provided hope for some control in the middle of the park after January, there were few midfielders in Leeds’ squad who had the ability or confidence to dictate and create chances when Forshaw picked up an injury.
Foden’s dynamism will help Leeds in that respect as he has the ability to play as a holding or an attacking midfielder, and he certainly has the energy and drive that would suit the inverted wing-back/centre midfield role in Bielsa’s 3-3-3-1 creation.
A loan deal would be the most sensible and likely route that City would be willing to take – especially considering that Foden is one of England’s best young prodigies. This would be one of the most difficult deals to pull off over the summer, but with Bielsa’s contacts and Foden’s lack of first team action with City then it could be a perfect deal for both parties.