Leeds United are gearing up for a busy January of business as they prepare for an assault towards the automatic promotion places.
Eight points is the difference between them and the league’s top two, Leicester City and Ipswich Town, but with some positive reinforcements in the transfer window, the Whites could soon close that gap.
While incomings are expected to arrive through the door, speculation continues to link teenage sensations Archie Gray and Wilfried Gnonto with moves away from the club.
According to TEAMtalk, Liverpool and Borussia Dortmund are interested in luring Gray out of Yorkshire with Leeds slapping a £50m price tag on the 17-year-old.
In a different report from the same outlet, Lazio are preparing to agree on a pricey loan deal to capture Gnonto in January, with a potential option to buy set at €15m (£13.1m).
If Leeds do decide to sell the talented duo, amid links to several clubs, Daniel Farke could be provided with the funds to bolster multiple areas of his squad, strengthening their chances of returning to the Premier League.
With this in mind, here’s what a predicted Leeds XI could look like come the end of the January window…
GK – Illan Meslier
At the age of 23 years and 16 days, Illan Meslier became the youngest-ever goalkeeper to reach a century of appearances in the Premier League.
A testament to how good the talented shot-stopper is, the Frenchman continues to grow in stature in between the sticks and since Leeds were relegated to the Championship, he’s played an integral role in their strong start to the season.
He’s kept an impressive six clean sheets and conceded just 16 goals with his side boasting the joint-second best defence in the division.
RB – Archie Gray
A central midfielder by trade, the 17-year-old has adapted into a right-back berth this term under Farke and although he’s shown signs of his rawness in defence, he’s also showcased why several clubs, including Liverpool and Dortmund, are keen on snapping him up.
He “oozes class” – as dubbed by journalist James Marshment – and the fact the Whites have slapped a £50m price tag on the youngster suggests how highly rated he is, having featured in all but one Championship game this term and made the most tackles in the Leeds squad (2.3), as per Sofascore.
CB – Joe Rodon
Rodon has been a revelation in the heart of the Leeds defence since arriving on loan from Tottenham Hotspur in the summer and has found himself a home at Elland Road.
While the possibility of him returning to north London in January has been mooted given their ongoing injury crisis, Leeds should do all they can to capture the Welshman on a permanent deal – even if a reported price tag of £20m could make that difficult to complete.
The 26-year-old has oozed class, averaging a 90% pass completion, 1.2 interceptions and four clearances per game this term.
CB – Pascal Struijk
Despite being out injured currently with two hernias, Struijk is preferred to partner Rodon over Liam Cooper in defence having performed exceptionally well prior to this minor setback.
While it would have been easy for the Belgium-born titan to jump ship following relegation, he’s played a vital role in commanding the defence, setting the tone with his sensational ball-playing capabilities.
LB – Sam Byram
The Thorp Arch academy graduate, who returned to the club this summer, has made the left back position his own and that is a testament to the work rate, energy and dynamism he offers his side down the left flank, complimenting the sublime skillset of Crysencio Summerville.
Although he was forced off with an injury in the win over Plymouth Argyle, he is expected to return after the international break and that is music to the ears of Leeds supporters.
CM – Glen Kamara
Once described as a “class act” by former manager Steven Gerrard, Kamara has quickly struck an influential partnership with Ethan Ampadu in the engine room, complimenting the Welshman’s tough-tackling displays with his superb passing range and tidiness in possession.
CM – Ethan Ampadu
The superlatives continue to drop for Ethan Ampadu following his £7m move from Chelsea in the summer and for good reason.
Dubbed “brilliant” by his Welsh midfield partner Jordan James, the 23-year-old has exhumed brilliance in the majority of his 16 matches this term, anchoring the Leeds ship towards promotion through his all-action displays.
Ampadu has made the second most tackles per game (2.2), the most interceptions (1.6) and accurate long balls (2.6) in the Whites squad.
RW – Grady Diangana
As reported by several outlets, including the Express & Star, Leeds were interested in signing Grady Diangana from West Brom in the summer, with the Baggies planting a £7m price tag on his head.
If the Whites were to go back in for a second bite of the cherry in January, they’d be purchasing a winger who not only has the “potential for magic” – as per journalist Graeme Brown – but has also averaged more successful take-ons (2.67 / 1.22) and more assists per 90 (0.40 / 0.38) this term than current fleet-footed right winger, Dan James.
CAM – Nadiem Amiri
Leeds had a bid of £5.1m (€6m) accepted for Bayer Leverkusen attacking midfielder Nadiem Amiri in the summer, however, Farke pulled out of the deal when personal terms couldn’t be agreed.
If he did move to Elland Road, he’d offer more of a creative threat than current number ten, Joel Piroe, averaging more progressive passes and carries than the Dutchman.
LW – Crysencio Summerville
Summerville has arguably been the best winger in the Championship this term, posting an impressive six goals and five assists in 13 appearances.
The 22-year-old possesses the unique ability to conjure up match-winning moments out of nowhere, as demonstrated by his incredible display against Norwich City.
The Dutch dynamo inspired a Leeds comeback on that afternoon and has produced magic throughout the season, recording the most goals, assists, highest average Sofascore rating (7.79) and second-most chances created (7) in Farke’s side.
ST – Georginio Rutter
The Georginio Rutter redemption arc has been in full flow this season and he’s played a pivotal role in propelling his side up the table.
Although the goals haven’t necessarily fallen for him, only mustering three in 15 appearances, the 21-year-old has become the driving force behind his side’s creativity, registering 15 big chances created – the most of anyone in the Leeds squad – as well as five assists.