Nigel Martyn has told LeedsUnited.News that he believes Marcelo Bielsa will drop Robin Koch when fellow summer signing Diego Llorente returns from a muscle injury that he sustained on international duty – with the Spaniard potentially available for Leeds United’s clash against Arsenal.
Koch, 24, has been first choice since the Germany international moved to Elland Road from German Bundesliga side Freiburg. Captain Liam Cooper has partnered him when fit – but Llorente is yet to be available to play for the Whites since his move from La Liga side Real Sociedad.
Following his move from Sociedad, Spain international Llorente pulled a muscle in a training camp with his country – and has been sidelined since. But the Yorkshire Evening Post claim that the 27-year-old ball-playing defender could be fit for next weekend’s clash against Arsenal.
Leeds icon Martyn responded when asked who he felt would be the best centre-back pairing when all are fit – and he reckons Koch could be axed following 4-1 defeats to Leicester and Palace, in order to partner Llorente with Scotland international Cooper at the heart of the Leeds defence.
“The goals we have conceded, Koch makes the first error against Leicester,” Martyn told LeedsUnited.News. Goals are coming down his side, over Cooper. It was [Scott] Dann that got the header on him on Saturday. He is the one making mistakes, but he is the future. It is a difficult one, Liam is the captain.
“I can see him going with Llorente and Cooper to start with, but that could be something he might have to tinker with. You don’t get long to get an understanding, but he has had long enough to see the current pairing. Once Llorente is fit, you have to see what he is like with Cooper – and then if there is an opportunity, bring Koch back in. Koch’s pace is important.”
Indeed, Koch was guilty of a short back pass during the loss to Leicester and then could arguably be at fault for two goals against Palace – with Dann climbing higher than Koch for the first, and Koch giving away the free-kick in which Eberechi Eze curled into the top corner, off the bar.
Whether Bielsa brings Llorente straight into the side after his injury remains to be seen. The Argentine is renowned for his loyalty to those in the starting XI and it means Koch is likely to continue – especially considering that other than the last two matches, he has looked good and helped Leeds fans forget about Ben White.
All eyes will be on whether Llorente can return in time for the clash against Arsenal.
Nigel Martyn speaks to Leeds United News: Archive