Leeds United endured and enjoyed a busy off-season as they made a number of changes to their backroom staff and playing squad ahead of the 2023/24 campaign.
The Whites were relegated from the Premier League in May after three years at the top table of English football and opted to go in a new direction with German head coach Daniel Farke, after Sam Allardyce’s contract expired.
A drop down to the Championship presented challenges for the ex-Norwich City boss as he had to deal with the likes of Max Wober, Rodrigo, Jack Harrison, Robin Koch, Rasmus Kristensen, and Luis Sinisterra, among others, moving away from Elland Road, either permanently or on loan.
However, those exits did open up the space for the club to bring in new recruits to bolster the team and refresh the dressing room after a dismal season.
Joel Piroe, Jaidon Anthony, Ilia Gruev, Ethan Ampadu, Karl Darlow, Sam Byram, Glen Kamara, Djed Spence, and Joe Rodon all arrived in an attempt to secure an immediate return to the top-flight.
That may not be the end of their business this season, though, as Angus Kinnear revealed that the funds are there for Farke to make further additions to his side in January if they are required.
With this in mind, summer transfer target Joaquin Piquerez is one player who could be an interesting signing for Leeds at the turn of the year as he could be a dream partner for Crysencio Summerville down the left flank.
Leeds transfer news – Joaquin Piquerez
It was reported ahead of the 2023/24 campaign that the Whites were interested in a deal to sign the left-back to improve their defensive options.
However, Brazilian outfit Palmeiras were not prepared to cash in on any of their key starters and Leeds’ efforts were, therefore, in vain as they failed to secure his services.
That does not appear to have ended their interest in the Uruguayan defender, though, as Brazilian journalist Diego Firmino reported in October that the club have been monitoring Piquerez.
This suggests that the Yorkshire-based outfit have not given up hope of signing the full-back, whether that is in January or in a future transfer window further down the line.
They clearly believe that the gem would be a strong addition to their squad, based on their interest in him over the summer and their continued monitoring of his situation.
It will, therefore, be interesting to see whether or not Farke goes back in to secure a swoop for the 6 foot 1 dynamo at the turn of the year to bolster his options ahead of the second half of the season.
Byram has been deployed at left-back this season but is a right-footed right-back by trade and the signing of Piquerez could allow the ex-Norwich man to compete for a place in his natural position, or provide cover for the Uruguay international on the left.
The statistics that show why Piquerez could be a good signing
The Palmeiras star has been in impressive form for his club throughout the 2023 Brazilian season so far and has showcased his qualities at both ends of the pitch.
His attacking ability has been on full display in the Serie A this year with an excellent return of three goals, four assists, and five ‘big chances’ created in 26 appearances.
Piquerez’s 2022 Serie A form (via Sofascore)
Meanwhile, no Leeds defender has managed more than one goal or one assist in 16 Championship matches so far during the 2023/24 campaign.
This suggests that the Uruguay international, who was dubbed “tidy” by South American content creator Nathan Joyes, could be an outstanding attacking threat from a defensive position for Leeds, due to his knack for chipping in with goals and assists.
Piquerez’s performances in the 2023 Libertadores were particularly eye-catching. He produced three goals, one assist, and five ‘big chances’ created in ten appearances, along with 1.3 key passes per game.
No current Leeds defender has managed more than 0.9 key passes per match in the Championship and this further illustrates how much of an upgrade the Palmeiras gem would be on Farke’s current options, from an attacking perspective.
However, the defensive side of his game should not be ignored. The 25-year-old battler made 2.8 tackles and interceptions combined per match and won 58% of his duels in those Libertadores clashes.
Whereas, Byram has made 2.9 tackles and interceptions per game and won 50% of his physical contests across 15 Championship outings this term, which does not suggest that there is a big difference in their defensive capabilities.
Couple that with his outstanding statistics at the top end of the pitch and you have a player who could be a fantastic partner for Summerville out wide, if he can translate that form over to English football.
Summerville’s season in numbers
The Dutch forward has been in sensational form for Leeds in the Championship and has caused opposition teams constant problems with his direct play in the final third.
Summerville is the club’s joint-top league scorer so far this season with six goals in 13 appearances, which is a tally that only centre-forward Joel Piroe has matched within the squad.
In fact, the 22-year-old magician ranks within the top 5% of his positional peers at Championship level for non-penalty goals (0.56) and assists (0.46) per 90 respectively this season.
The impressive youngster ranks within the top 1% of players in his position for shot-creating actions (7.22) per 90, which illustrates how much of an impact he has been able to make throughout the campaign so far.
His already-outstanding attacking performances for Leeds are why the signing of Piquerez could be a particularly exciting one for Farke’s side.
Opposition defenders would have two fantastic forward threats to deal with on the left side of the Whites team as the Uruguay international’s statistics indicate that he could provide goals, assists, and ‘big chances’ created at an impressive rate.
This could potentially open up more space for Summerville to exploit as their opponents would have Piquerez to contend with and mark, whereas Byram does not require the same level of attention as he does not make a consistent impact going forward.