Rio Ferdinand has told his Youtube Channel that Leeds United will fail to make big-name signings under the guidance of manager Marcelo Bielsa – due to the immense demands of the Argentine. His argument being that Bielsa will expect incoming players to adapt and change to his style, and those big-name players might not buy into that.
Leeds continue to be linked with numerous big-name players after the January window re-opened. PSG midfielder Julian Draxler is probably the biggest name that has been suggested as a possible option for the Yorkshire club, with the Daily Mail claiming that Leeds have discussed a move for the German playmaker – along with Leicester’s Demarai Gray and Real Madrid’s Lucas Vazquez.
All three players are set to see their contracts expire at the end of the season. Vazquez is a huge name, having played more than 200 games for Real Madrid while Draxler has won the World Cup with Germany in 2014. But Ferdinand’s comments explain why Leeds will fail to bring those type of players to the club – beyond the normal stumbling blocks of wages and transfer fees.
“The conundrum is, can you get ready-made superstars to run like that with that intensity, every day in training and every game for the season?” Ferdinand said, when discussing who Leeds could bring to the club over the course of the next few weeks. “Yes, you can buy hungry young players, but the big ask is to get a superstar to buy into it.”
Leeds could do with additions, with a defender, a left-back and a partner for Mateusz Klich expected to be their primary targets. But Ferdinand’s comments ring true – even if they did bring in big-money players such as Raphinha, Rodrigo, Robin Koch and Diego Llorente. The one thing that Ferdinand might not have considered is if the style of player is already in the Bielsa mould.
Raphinha and Rodrigo are perfect examples. Raphinha was due to play in the Champions League while Rodrigo is a regular for Spain – though they are not top-tier superstars, they are up there. But Leeds have completed deals and convinced them of a move to Elland Road despite Ferdinand’s comments – because Rodrigo and Raphinha are already hard-working players.
Bielsa and Victor Orta must fine comb the market to find superstar players – but ones that adhere to Ferdinand’s claim which is ultimately true. Vazquez is certainly one that is of said mould.