If Brenden Aaronson, Rasmus Kristensen and Marc Roca felt clearly within reach – the first two came from Jesse Marsch’s former employers and renowned sales club Red Bull Salzburg, the latter signed for Bayern Munich after just six starts in two seasons – then the next leg of Leeds United’s summer makeover feels good different.
From the achievable to the challenging.
With the Yorkshire giants set to lose not only their prized asset but also their most gifted, creative talent in Brazil international Raphinha, it seems the right moment for the Leeds board to remind an expectant fanbase that they simply the numbers are not forming in the premier league.
Raphinha’s impending departure, whether to Barcelona, Tottenham or Arsenal, has been held up as an example of the glass ceiling that exists between Leeds and the division’s real-life big-hitters. But if Leeds’ succession plan is anything, Raphinha’s will to exit doesn’t necessarily condemn Marsch and company to another season of treading water.
Can Chelsea’s Hakim Ziyech replace Raphinha at Leeds United?
Corresponding CBS sports, Leeds see Hakim Ziyech as a “viable option” to replace the talismanic Brazilian in Marsch’s XI. The logic holds. Like Raphinha, Ziyech is a right-footed left winger. A highly technical operator capable of both goals and assists in the double digits.
“Two years ago I was on loan in Holland, so I knew a little bit about him.” says Chelsea teammate and former Vitesse Arnhem star Mason Mount. “(Ziyech is an) amazing world-class player.”
You can’t really say the same about Cody Gakpo or Charles de Ketelaere – not yet, anyway – but there’s no doubting the elite-level potential of two other players on Leeds’ wish-list after Raphinha.
Corresponding FootMercato, Leeds have Gakpo firmly in their sights; An explosive, versatile striker who, like Ziyech at Ajax, seems to have outgrown the relatively small pond of the Dutch top flight. Gakpo, who scored 21 goals for PSV last season, is more effective on the left flank, but he can also play down the right flank or through the middle.
Leeds plan for the post-Raphinha era
Unlike Gakpo and Ziyech, Charles de Ketelaere, the pompous Belgian from Bruges, is no comparable Raphinha substitute. Elegant and ethereal, he’s more of a number ten than a wideman with bouncy heels. De Ketelaere’s ability to drift between the lines and deliver defence-splitting passes should, however, bring a different kind of threat in a more central role to a Leeds side who relied too much on outside inspiration last season.
Corresponding Fabrizio RomanoDe Ketelaere is another in Leeds’ sights as Raphinha prepares to clear his locker.
“To be honest, I think De Ketelaere could be the next (Kevin) De Bruyne,” says Belgian reporter Alexandre Braeckman Pianeta Milan. “His vision is brilliant. He is fast, technical and can easily score points. He can play behind a forward, but he can also be used as a false nine or a forward.
“His vision of making assists is amazing. De Ketelaere is a really incredible talent, an intelligent guy, also very professional. He has the mentality and ability to become a world-class player.”
Leeds may be close to losing their A-list attacker. But the show goes on at Elland Road. And there’s no reason why it can’t be just as thrilling and compelling as before.
In other news, personal terms matched: Romano claims to be an ‘extraordinary’ Liverpool player so close to retiring
https://www.hitc.com/en-gb/2022/06/23/leeds-could-reportedly-get-world-class-33m-star-or-next-de-bruyne/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=leeds-could-reportedly-get-world-class-33m-star-or-next-de-bruyne Leeds could reportedly land a £33million ‘world-class’ star or the ‘next De Bruyne’.